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Fashion Enter fights with council over rates relief

Not-for-profit organisation Fashion Enter is again battling with a local council over business rates relief.

The organisation is looking to establish a boutique and training centre to support emerging designers in Bourne­mouth and has already struck a deal with the landlords of the town’s Boscombe Arcade for highly subsidised rents and utilities rates. It also wants to set up a factory to try to tackle rising local unemployment.

However, Bournemouth council has refused rates relief and declined invitations to visit Fashion Enter’s premises to view its work.

Fashion Enter operates a factory in Haringey, north London, a boutique and training centre in Croydon, Surrey, a boutique in Barking, Essex, and a showroom in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, all supporting fledgling designers.

Councils in these areas give it discretionary rates relief, whereby business rates are reduced for organisations that are not registered as a charity but are deemed to do charitable work.

Fashion Enter previously won a two-year rates relief battle with Croydon council after Drapers first reported on its plight in 2008.

Fashion Enter director Jenny Holloway said: “Many fashion graduates leave the south coast for London and we could really help nurture talent in the area. I don’t understand why any council would not support such a scheme at a time when retail units are sitting empty.”

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