£130,000 owed to council by coffee shop and fashion chain is written off

The hall, which is used by Norwich City Council, is another one of the Norwich 12

Norwich City Council's cabinet has agreed to write off almost £130,000 worth of business rate debt - Credit: Abigail Nicholsom

A Norfolk council has been forced to write off two company's debts worth almost £130,000. 

Norwich City Council has agreed to write off the business rate debts of the Norwich cafe business, Britannia Enterprises Norwich C.I.C, and the chain clothing store, Peacocks.

In total, £129,666.52 was owed to them by the two companies.

At a meeting of Norwich City Council cabinet on Wednesday, Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources, asked his colleagues to approve the write-off.

He said: "We only write off debt as a last resort and of course it doesn't prevent us in the future, if at all possible, claiming these monies.

"You can't get blood out of a stone and if a company goes into liquidation or administration you simply cannot get this money back again."

Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council cabinet member for resources Photo: Bill Smith

Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council cabinet member for resources Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Britannia community interest company (CIC) previously ran cafes across the city, including Café Britannia at HMP Norwich, Park Britannia at Waterloo Park, Gibraltar Gardens in Heigham Street, Court Britannia at Norwich Crown Court, and Guildhall Britannia in the city centre. 

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The company went into liquidation in October 2019.

The total debt across the company's two accounts was £73,697.85.

Peacocks Stores Limited who went into administration in November 2021 and an annual report said unsecured creditors - lenders that do not obtain collateral, like the council - are likely to only get paid back 1-2p per pound owed.

A report to councillors said: "If or when any dividend is received, the debt can be written back on again to take this into account.

"The total write-off at this stage is £55,968.67"

Café Park Britannia at Waterloo Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Café Park Britannia at Waterloo Park. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

Peacocks was saved from complete collapse earlier this year by a senior executive with backing from an international consortium in April.  

Despite the rescue, 200 stores across the country permanently close, including the Norwich branch.

The cabinet unanimously approved the write-off.

Norwich City Council keeps a pot of money to cover issues like this.

After this write-off, the council will have £2,751,612.15 left in the bad debt provision for 2021/22.

As of October 21, £276,727.24 of business rate debt has been written off.