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Rating appeal leads to nationwide policy change


Graham Heilbuth

Working with Northamptonshire County Council's (NCC's) Property Assets team, we identified that the council's business rates liability in respect of John Dryden House was excessive.

We submitted evidence to the Valuation Office that demonstrated John Dryden House had been inappropriately valued. The exceptional size of the office building had not been accounted for, nor had the building works that took place on the top floor of the premises when the Valuation Office assessed the premises.

At a valuation tribunal we established that the work was beyond repair and refurbishment. As a consequence the space was removed from the rating assessment for the period that work took place.

Successful appeal to generate more than £400k savings

Acting on behalf of NCC, we submitted a formal appeal to the Valuation Office and after negotiation the assessment was reduced, leading to the rateable value being reduced by 20% to £775,000. In real terms, this will result in NCC saving £425,000 over five years.

Rate relief for refurbishment works results in additional savings of over £30k

In addition, we identified further possible savings for the period when John Dryden House was vacant due to refurbishment work taking place. A subsequent appeal was initially opposed by the Valuation Office. However we pursued this to the Valuation Tribunal where the appeal was upheld, and this resulted in further savings of £33,500.

Appeal leads to policy reform

Following these successful appeals the Valuation Office has been forced to change its policy to the benefit of other local authorities.

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