Reality Prevails in the Rating Valuation World

2 July 2020

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The Court of Appeal has refused permission to the Valuation Office Agency to appeal a ruling in favour of Exeter City Museum over the rateable value of the city’s Grade II listed Royal Albert Memorial & Art Museum.

Cooke & Arkwright director Jane Shankland's article of 16th January reported the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) decision in the case of Stephen G Hughes (Valuation Officer) and Exeter City Council.  The Upper Tribunal had upheld the Valuation Tribunal England’s (VTE) decision that the rateable value of Exeter museum should be £1 with effect from 1st April 2015.

Rating practitioners welcomed the decision which brought a sense of reality to the valuation of grand, listed civic buildings. Finding that these types of properties should be valued adopting the receipts and expenditure basis rather than the contractor’s method, which is based on rebuilding costs and produces valuations which are manifestly too high. The R&E method reflects the fact that these types of properties are largely non- profit making and rely on significant deficit funding.

Jane commented “The refusal by the Court of Appeal to allow the Valuation Office Agency a further appeal is great news for our local authority clients.  We now have a green light to progress the many outstanding museum rating appeals we have lodged.   The decision also has potential application for other public buildings which we are keen to explore”.  

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group