Council tax discount for flood victims

VITAL help for people hit by flooding could be flowing Test Valley residents’ and businesses’ way.

Test Valley Borough Council is considering giving a three-month discount for people whose properties have been affected by flooding.

Proposals to help flood victims will go before the borough cabinet on April 16 and the full council the following day.

The discount would apply to anyone “whose day-to-day activities were adversely affected as a result of flooding” between December 1 last year and March 31.

This would include properties where gardens, adjoining land or outbuildings were severely affected and homes where services such as sewerage, drainage and electricity were disrupted.

People living in upper-storey flats may also be able to apply for a council tax reduction if they’ve had problems with access to their property due to flooding.

Those who have had to move into temporary accommodation could also receive the discount on the property they are renting.

Some Romsey resident, like Mark and Ann Viney, whose Budds Lane home was flooded on February 7 after the Test burst its banks at Greatbridge ,have already received a 12-month discount.

Mr Viney, 67, said: “I’ don’t have to pay, because my home is uninhabitable and is still drying out. The water came right up the walls and all the plaster has to be removed up to about a metre high and then the walls will have to be re-plastered. At its worst, the water was 15-18ins deep in the house,”

He welcomed the news that he may also receive a discount on the property they are renting while their homes dries out.

Mr Viney has been been told by his insurance company that it is likely to cost between £50,000 and £75,000 to make his home habitable. This includes replacing damaged carpets, wooden floors, furniture and refitting the kitchen.

Neighbours, Chris and Caroline Egg, are in the same situation after their bungalow was submerged.

The couple are currently living in a two-bedroom rented flat in the town and don’t expect to be able to move back into their home until September.

Chris said he would be applying for the reduction in council tax at his temporary abode.

“If the money is available, it would be silly not to take it. When we moved into temporary accommodation, we were refunded a year’s council tax on our Budds Lane home,” said Chris, who moved to Romsey in 2012 with the aim of making the bungalow their retirement project.

However, before anyone is considered for a discount they must provide written evidence supporting their application to the borough council.

Borough cabinet economics spokesman, Peter Giddings, said: “Scores of people across the borough have been affected by flooding. We are keen to offer whatever support we can to alleviate some of the financial stress and pressure on residents impacted by the adverse weather. As a result, regardless of how long properties were affected by the flooding, all eligible applicants will receive the full three-month discount.”

In addition to this scheme, the council has already started dishing out government cash aimed at helping businesses get back on their feet after the severe flooding on Romsey’s Budds Lane Industrial Estate.

One Romsey business that suffered badly in the February flooding, Advance Yacht Services, has just received £2,500 from TVBC under the Government’s Business Support Scheme that is being administered by the council.

Company finance director, Caroline Oldham, said: “This money has enabled us to fund advertising and promotion to help us get back to the trading position we would have been in had we not experienced flooding during the recent exceptional weather.”

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