A book club is urging the Government to reassess the business rates model which – it says – is threatening the existence of the bookshop where it meets.

Pinner Book Club bemoaned the increased business rates imposed on Brooks, in Bridge Street, Pinner.

It has handed in a 394-signature petition to Harrow Council, asking it to intervene and protect independent businesses in the borough.

The council is responsible for billing, but the rates are set by the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) – a government body.

Suzanne Sedgeman, a member of Pinner Book Club, said it was important to defend smaller businesses to help maintain the area’s unique feel.

She said: “The high streets in places like Pinner and Hatch End have always had independent shops, but these are being threatened by high business rates.

“We want to raise awareness of the situation at Brooks and support it in its bid to get the rate increase overturned.”

As part of the petition, the book club have also called on the council to engage with the public over protecting their high streets.

“We have identified a lack of consultation with Pinner residents and local businesses regarding our high street, and the safeguards that need to be put in place to make it harder for an anti-high street position to be adopted,” Ms Sedgeman added.

Owner Peter Brook took over the premises, which formerly housed a branch of TSB, in 2018.

The VOA calculated the new rates based on the change of use, which, Mr Brook explained, means his business is paying more than £1,200 extra a month.

He said the shop is in contact with the VOA and he is “confident” that the decision will be reversed.

He also thanked the community for its support over the issue and has spoken with Harrow councillors about his campaign.

A spokesman for the VOA said it could not comment on individual cases but reminded businesses that they can review their business rates.

He said: “If a ratepayer thinks the details we hold about their property are incorrect, they can see how their valuation has been calculated and update their facts, if needed, by registering with our check and challenge service.”