Company headed by Saffron Walden mayor is wound up over £14k unpaid business rates bill
Copyright © 2016 Celia Bartlett Photography
A Saffron Walden company headed by the town's mayor has been wound up for not paying a business rates bill of more than £14,000.
Councillor Sarfraz Anjum is the sole company director for Kahlown Ltd, which was liable for business rates at 4 The Arches in Hill Street until January 19.
Uttlesford District Council (UDC) says the business defaulted on its bill, leaving the authority with no option but to take action after failing to come to a payment agreement with the mayor.
The winding up order was made against Kahlown at the High Court in Manchester on December 12, and it is the first time in four years that UDC has wound up a business.
A solicitor acting for Mr Anjum said: “Kahlown operated one business called Classics which was a retail store. The store was completely destroyed on July 26, 2014, after the ceiling collapsed arising from severe water damage.
“This incident totally destroyed the company and all fittings and fixtures in the store.
“A claim was being prepared by Kahlown over the water damage to pay all debtors but no sums have been released yet.
“Unfortunately, Sarfraz was the greatest victim of the incident as he was owed the largest amount of money by Kahlown. Sarfraz has lost all the money he loaned to Kahlown, his livelihood and all wages which he was owed.
“Kahlown Limited being an incorporated company has its own legal capacity and is a totally separate legal entity to its employees or directors.”
Councillor Anjum said: “I have always run my businesses in the correct manner and have been an Uttlesford resident for 30 years.
“I love Saffron Walden and will continue to do my best to fight for its residents.”
Conservative town councillor Doug Perry said: “I’m disappointed with his behaviour, it is not becoming of a mayor to conduct himself in this way.
“He should have also declared it as part of his business interests to the town council, which he has not done.”
Simon Howell, UDC’s cabinet member for finance and administration, said: “Uttlesford has a strong record of supporting local business and will do all it can to advise and help those struggling to pay their business rates.
“Serving a winding up order is the very last resort. Every opportunity was offered to Kahlown to pay the outstanding bill and the decision to seek a winding up order was only taken after all avenues had been exhausted.
“It is the first time since 2013 the council has had to take this course of action.
“The collection of business rates is vitally important as it goes towards paying for key services for the community.”
It isn’t the first time the mayor has been caught up in controversy during his term in office.
In September last year, a row erupted after Mr Anjum took his chains of office to Pakistan, with Conservative councillors claiming he did not have permission to do so.
A month later, the mayor came under fire from a Shire Hill business owner after he allegedly called the Saffron Walden industrial estate “shabby and tired”.
Mr Anjum’s term as mayor will end in May.