A NOT-FOR-PROFIT trust based at the Weymouth Peninsula has been refused discretionary rate relief.

The Weymouth Area Development Trust has been based at Custom House Quay although the building has been empty since last year.

It took it over Building A in December 2017 incurring rates charges of £2,372 due to the end of March 2018 and £11,352 for 2018/19 – which it has asked the borough council to either help with by reducing, or waiving the amount.

But councillors decided that allowing the discretionary rate relief would set a precedent and refused the application – suggesting instead that the organisation ask the council for a grant to cover its costs.

Cllr Kate Wheller said because the organisation was a community interest company they were not entitled to the same relief as charities.

“It's a bit of a strange situation because we're going to knock this building down any minute,” she said.

Cllr Wheller said that if the council insisted they pay the money the organisation could go bust which might have an effect on the council's Coastal Communities bid which they were part of.

Committee chairman Cllr Jeff Cant said although the organisation was part of the £3 million bid it should not affect the application for discretionary rate relief, which if allowed, would cost the council £4,540, representing 40 per cent of the full amount for 2018/19, although relief could not be awarded for the previous year.

“I am reluctant to set a precedent. We could find ourselves in a corner. We should say that we have the significant sympathy with this organisation and I will contact them and suggest they apply for a voluntary grant award and that we give that a sympathetic hearing.”