independent

Saturday 23 August 2014

€18,000 rates bill 'a terrible burden'

David Tucker

Published 06/08/2013 | 05:42

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Denis Reid, owner of Newbay House.

THE NEW owner of historic Newbay House is to ask the council to reduce the €18,000 a year in business rates levied on the property.

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THE NEW owner of historic Newbay House is to ask the council to reduce the €18,000 a year in business rates levied on the property.

'It's a terrible burden for any business, never mind a small historic house,' said hotelier Denis Reid, who bought the house last year.

Midway through an expensive and expansive renovation project of the house on the outskirts of Wexford, Mr. Reid said he has yet to make a firm decision on whether to re-open Newbay as a business.

'We still have not made a definite decision on opening, but it would be my wish to reopen if circumstances allow,' said Mr. Reid.

However, the staggering cost of the rates and on top of that insurance quotes averaging €17,000 a year are proving to be a major stumbling block.

'We undertook major refurbishments, which have taken longer and more money than planed. But all is achievable with good fiscal management and discipline,' he said.

'We are self funding the project and are not getting any assistance from any Irish authority or financial institute.

'It means we must be very careful and budget properly both in the restoration and when we open the business.'

Mr. Reid said that if talks with the local authority prove successful and everything else works out, Newbay could be open for business around Easter of 2014.

He said that would include fine dining, functions and the accommodation.

'We would hope to start taking enquiries and bookings for functions from December 2013.'

'(This) will be predicated on us being able to attract the best quality of staff both front of house and chefs and kitchen staff who have a passion and experience for food and good service and are in love with Newbay Country House and the environment.

'We will be contacting the local council to see is there any way our current rates of approximately €18,000 can be reduced, as it's a terrible burden for any business never mind a small historic house to manage, and this is one of the deciding factors.

'We are completing all the new requirements for the fire officer to make the building meet current day safety regulations.

'We need to see a lift in the tourism and disposable income of the mums and dads and the economy to show a steady growth over the next few quarters

'If we can create a environment where we can make the business be profitable and deliver a service and experience which the public require and to the standard they deserve we hope to open next Easter.

'At this stage it is about a 50/50 probability. I am very hopeful and are monitoring all the parameters to ensure when we open it is a success,' he said.

Mr. Reid, who still owns a hotel in Australia, said one fear he had was the cost of electricity and gas if and when he re-opened Newbay as a going concern.

'I have comparisons to make with my Australian business and even before opening the doors at Newbay the costs for both electricity and gas is more than my property in Australia which can accommodate 70 people at a time and has heated pools and spa units in the bedrooms, and we do all our own laundry on site. I fear what the bill will be once we open.'

Wexford People

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