Popular Anster pub faces closure in rates row

Dreel Tavern Anstruther. Pic by George McLuskie

Dreel Tavern Anstruther. Pic by George McLuskie

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Anstruther’s historic Dreel Tavern faces closure after being hit with a £12,000 council tax bill.

Owner Linaire McRae said the crippling bill bore no comparison with the level of council taxes paid by other pubs in the town – around £2200.

The bill is based on a valuation done in 2008, and circumstances have changed drastically since then. An appeal against the valuation earlier this month proved unsuccessful.

“I think it is manifestly unfair that the Council won’t even give a level playing field,” Ms McRae said. “We have worked so hard and we are starting to turn the corner.

“If I quit now, I lose money. if I struggle on,it is going to be built on hope and hard work and there are absolutely no guarantees.”

Ms McRae promised the bar would stay open over the festive season but warned: “I will have to see what January and February business is like – if we survive those two months, then perhaps we stand a chance.”

Ms McRae said the 2008 valuation was set at £21,000, with other pubs in the town valued at less than the £18,000, threshold that allows them to qualify for a 50 per cent reduction in council tax as a small business.

The decline in business at the Dreel is attributed to the loss of other businesses in the west end of Anstruther, including the closure of a caravan site and several bed and breakfasts.

One regular, Andy Walker, commented on the situation: “It is totally unfair and unjust – I would be devastated if the pub were to close, and a lot of people in Anstruther feel the same.”