BUSINESSES have accused a council of being heavy handed after it demanded three months’ rent from firms on the Mildenhall Industrial Estate.
Forest Heath District Council has told existing tenants they will have to pay three months of rent up front when they renew their lease, even though many of the firms have already paid a month up front and kept on top of their bills.
One firm whose lease has already expired, said it was unable to meet the charge.
“I’ve just been ignoring the letters,” said the man who asked not to be named.
“This area is a ghost town and it is absolutely mental that they are chasing more money and running the risk of losing people.
“They owe us a bit of loyalty.”
Another tenant, Andrew Neal, from Solution Cleaning Supplies, in James Carter Road, said he had rented his site for 14 years and never missed a payment.
He will have to pay £1,500 to renew his lease in April.
“I can afford to take it on the chin but I don’t see why I should. There is no negotiation no consultation. They are holding a gun to our head, they are behaving like Dick Turpin to be honest,” he said.
David Bowman, chairman of the Mildenhall Community Partnership, said: “It seems rather heavy handed to me to demand this from businesses that are already hard pressed. They ought to be supporting businesses rather than trying to put extra pressure on them.”
A spokeswoman for the council said the changes were brought in because taxpayers were increasingly having to pick up the bill after tenants left without giving notice and with repairs and rent outstanding. There were also times when the sureties had been lost.
She added that the deposit was now required whenever a business started or renewed a lease and was refundable at the end of the tenancy subject to conditions.
“We do not believe the sum is unreasonable,” the spokeswoman added.