Owner of Palmers Green venue hire firm faced enforcement action over bill he’d already paid, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A small business owner claims he was “badly treated” by Enfield Council after being threatened with enforcement action over a bill he had already settled.
Steve Day, who runs KB02 Venue Hire in Green Lanes, Palmers Green, says he deserves an apology from the council over an apparent mix-up that meant he was told to pay hundreds of pounds that he no longer owed.
The venue, which hosts parties for children and adults, closed in March during the Covid-19 lockdown. Steve said he thought it would be fully covered by a rates holiday for hospitality businesses introduced by the government.
But when he reopened in July, Steve found he had been sent a court summons over an unpaid rates bill for two parking spaces that were not covered by the holiday. He claims he tried to pay the money but the council made a mistake in setting up its direct debit, which meant it was not collected.
“I feel really like I have been badly treated here,” Steve said. “I have tried to run a good business. I have been here twelve years and never missed a payment. Times are not the best at the moment. I feel really hard done by.”
Steve said that when he received the court summons, he called the council and arranged to pay the outstanding rates by direct debit. But his bookkeeper later told him the rate payments had been taken and then returned to the business’s account in August, September and October.
When he contacted the council on 22nd October, he said he was told the direct debit had bounced because there was not enough money in the account – which Steve denies. He said there was “plenty” of money in the account.
He said he contacted his bank, which told him the council had not set up the direct debit properly. Although Steve said he didn’t understand why he had to pay for the parking spaces, which he could not use during the lockdown, he said he contacted the council and paid the full amount on 1st November.
But an enforcement order had already been raised against him on 28th October, and an officer was sent out to demand payment.
Steve said he had repeatedly tried telling the council he had paid but only received an automated response to his emails, until he eventually heard back via a ward councillor this month that the enforcement action was going to be withdrawn “as a gesture of goodwill”.
“I deserve an apology for this,” he said. “I feel really strongly about it. It is their system that is messed up. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
The council declined to comment.