Pontefract restaurant owners ‘overwhelmed’ by public support

Owners David and Jemma Ladwitch of the Pontefract Roast House, say they face closure months after opening because of a massive rates bill.
Owners David and Jemma Ladwitch of the Pontefract Roast House, say they face closure months after opening because of a massive rates bill.

Restaurant owners say they have been overwhelmed by the community’s support after fearing they would be forced to shut.

Jemma and David Ladwitch only took over the Pontefract Roast House on Market Place in September, but were hit by a huge £3,000 rates bill which they did not expect and left them teetering on the brink.

Owners David and Jemma Ladwitch of the Pontefract Roast House, say they face closure months after opening because of a massive rates bill.

Owners David and Jemma Ladwitch of the Pontefract Roast House, say they face closure months after opening because of a massive rates bill.

After the Express highlighted their plight earlier this month, Jemma said the couple have since had great support from well wishers.

She said: “We’ve had people come up to us to say that it’s been terrible what happened and they didn’t want to see us shut down.

“It’s stirred up a lot of emotions.

“We’ve even had other businesses contact us saying they are having similar issues.

“It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones having problems with this.

“It’s got people talking about the high street again which can only be a good thing.

After David’s father passed away last year, they ploughed David’s inheritance into the business. Having received the enormous bill, and being threatened with court action if it was not paid, they have now managed to secure a manageable payment plan.

However, they remain adamant that a more lenient approach needs to be taken towards smaller businesses, or risk driving them out of town.

Jemma added: “We were naive, we were told that we were exempt from rates when we should have done our homework ,but we still think the rates are to high.

“I don’t think people realised how much smaller businesses have to pay, it’s been an eye opener for them.

“But people need to support these businesses - instead of going to the high street chains.”

Jemma is now hoping to bring Pontefract’s independent business community together through a new support networking group.