Red tape blamed for shop going for sale

A SHOPKEEPER has blamed of rising Government taxes for forcing him to sell the business he has run for almost 20 years.The final straw for Halesworth shopkeeper Brian Norris came when he found he could not afford to retain an off-licence on the premises.

A SHOPKEEPER has blamed of rising Government taxes for forcing him to sell the business he has run for almost 20 years.

The final straw for Halesworth shopkeeper Brian Norris came when he found he could not afford to retain an off-licence on the premises.

Mr Norris and his wife Pat, who have owned Norris Stores for 18 years, said the incoming rules were beyond a joke.

"The fee to have an off-licence on your premises has gone up to £150 a year. It is also £30 for an individual licensee and £200 per person minimum to go to college to get exams to serve alcohol — and we have got 17 staff," he said.


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"If they don't do, that they can't serve. Supermarkets like Tesco pay the same as us for the licence, but with 200 to 300 times the turnover. If I can't compete, I'm not interested."

Another issue of concern to Mr Norris is the New Disabled Act, which means every store must have disabled access. "I can't alter the front of the shop and if I altered the inside, people couldn't get in," he added.

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Mr Norris, 61, who used to own a store in Wissett, said he was now looking for an independent buyer for the store, worth about £100,000.

"It could take two months or six months to sell, but we are looking for people to run it in the same way we have," he added.

"I think it is the busiest and cheapest store in Halesworth. All the customers want us to stay, but we have had enough."

Mr Norris, who lives in the flat above the shop in Quay Street, said he and his wife were now planning to retire to Scotland.

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