Ilkley shop Foxbat forced to close due to rates bill

First published in

An Ilkley business has been forced to close after struggling to afford its business rates and rent.

Hailing and Tim Harper brought their Shoreditch fashion and lifestyle brand Foxbat to The Grove last October, but have been forced to shut up shop after repeated problems with flooding and finding the overheads too expensive.

Mrs Harper said: “All the furniture gets ruined – we’ve been flooded so many times.

“We also can’t afford the high-priced rent and business rates. It is too expensive in The Grove.

“Maybe this wasn’t the best location for our shop, but the current economic climate is the main problem.”

Business rates are set by the Government, with local councils responsible for sending out bills and collecting payments from district businesses.

Martin Stubbs, assistant director for Bradford Council’s revenues and benefits service, said: “We are always disappointed when a business in our district feels it can no longer carry on trading.”

The shop consisted of three floors of fashion, accessories, furniture and art, with an emphasis on luxury materials.

The couple’s original business was founded in London in 2009, and has been featured in many national newspapers and magazines.

Ilkley ward councillor, Anne Hawkesworth, said: “It is always regrettable when businesses fold. The Grove is the prime retail area of Ilkley, and I presume the rentals reflect that. It is all down to a market economy.”

Mrs Harper added: “Our customers all say it’s such a shame.”

The remainder of the stock will go on sale for just under a month from temporary premises at 28 Brook Street.

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