Is your business under siege?

External influences over which you have no control can adversely affect your business

12 April 2016

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There are many daily challenges, not to mention costs, of running a business. If you are a retailer, company owner or manager, you will be only too aware of this. But what happens when external influences over which you have no control have an adverse effect on your daily activities, maybe reducing footfall or profit margins? These can be many and varied.

They could involve redevelopment of adjacent buildings or even the one you are occupying, so that scaffolding deters people from entering your premises; maybe the local car park has closed or work on a railway bridge or major roadworks have diverted traffic onto a different route; or a large supermarket has opened in the locality drawing shoppers away and causing your takings to plummet.

Situations such as these can cause a great deal of hardship and you may need to reduce costs to offset any loss of income. One way to do this is to find out if you can reduce your business rates – one of the biggest overheads to your business. This may be possible if it can be established that there has been a ‘material change in circumstances’. Our business rates advisory team specialises in assessing your business rates liability to make sure you are not paying more than you need to and determining whether you have a reasonable right of appeal.

Cooke & Arkwright Associate and Chartered Surveyor Huw Jones said, “We inspect the property, measure and value, then we take into account the duration of any works or external factors that are affecting the business. The external factors need to be of a certain length of time usually over 3 months before an argument can be put to the valuation officer. If rents are decreasing in the vicinity of the property over and above general economic factors or takings are reduced could provide evidence to support the material change of circumstance.”

Huw has successfully lodged appeals in areas around the country including Newport and Pontypridd in South Wales, and Rhyl in North Wales, where regeneration works, new supermarkets, retail parks, and vacancy levels have all had a detrimental impact on local occupiers (see fig. below).

Huw comments, “Many town centres are undergoing regeneration works and more are planned, which is good news for the immediate vicinity as, in the longer term, it helps to draw in new business and visitors. Our job is to help try to ease the burden on existing occupiers adversely affected by the duration of the works”.


Material Change of Circumstances

PontypriddRegeneration works to Pontypridd town centreImpact on the town centre during the period of the works
NewportImpact of Tesco Extra at Spytty Retail ParkPost-opening impact on the city centre of the opening of Tesco Extra Store at Spytty Retail Park
 Impact of new M&S at Spytty Retail ParkPost-opening impact on the city centre of the opening of the new M&S store at Spytty Retail Park and the increased vacancy levels
RhylVacancy levels in the town centreImpact on town centre as a result of high vacancy levels
 Impact of Prestatyn Retail ParkPost-opening impact on the town centre
Curran Road, CardiffProperties in disrepair

Substantial works required to bring the properties into repair deemed to be uneconomic having regard to their age and the nature of the locality

Blake Morgan committed to 29,000 sq ft office in the exciting Central Square development. We retained Ben Bolton and his team some time ago to advise and appraise options in the lead up to this significant move of our Cardiff Office. The business is extremely pleased with the outcome and Ben's negotiations and attention to detail was a major part to this.

Philip Jardine, Blake Morgan LLP