Published: 00:01, 11 September 2017
A high-end Maidstone retirement village owes the council more than £50,000 after not paying business rates for five years.
The companies which run Audley Mote House, in Mote Park, have not paid Maidstone Borough Council since opening communal facilities in 2012 - but it is not for want of trying, it has claimed.
A spokesman said the council was invited to the village’s opening but despite this no money has ever been collected.
He added Audley had made attempts to pay MBC and had put aside the estimated accrued amount of £56,000. A council official turned up at the site last Friday.
The picturesque 101-cottage village has been home to scores of residents since 2013. They live in their own properties and pay council tax but have access to a health club, restaurant and library, which are subject to rates.
A MBC spokesman confirmed its valuation office is assessing the site for the period between April 2015 – when “to the best of its knowledge” communal facilities opened – and May this year and will then request the outstanding amount.
A former senior member of staff said he repeatedly informed the company it needed to pay business rates but was ignored.
He added: “I think the opinion was very much ‘if we aren’t being asked for the money, why should we pay it?’
"They are a highly profitable business so of course they should pay rates just like everyone else.”
Last year Audley Mote Management and Audley Mote, the companies responsible for running the village, made £2.1m.
Audley operates 12 villages and homes across the UK, including one in Tunbridge Wells and says it has had no issues with rates elsewhere.
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