Supreme Court Decision Confirms ATM Sites in Supermarkets and Convenience Stores are Not Separately Rateable

22 May 2020

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The Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision on the rateability of ATM sites on Wednesday. The decision agreed with the Court of Appeal that the sites of cash machines at supermarkets and convenience stores are not separately rateable but rather form an integral part of the stores they serve.

The dispute has run through the Valuation Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and the Court of Appeal.   The Court of Appeal decision was appealed by the Valuation Office Agency .

In essence the decision had regard to the situation where both the retailer and the ATM operator derive a commercial benefit from the use of the site.  The Supreme Court decided that where the retailer had conferred rights on the operator to further the retailer’s own general business purposes, then the retailer retained occupation of the ATM site for both internal and external ATM’s, and a separate assessment on the ATM site is incorrect.

The Supreme Court therefore dismissed the Valuation Office Agency’s appeal.

The decision is important in curtailing the VOA’s quest to create additional assessments.   Crucially, it will also enable ATM operators to continue to offer their facilities, particularly in socially disadvantaged locations where the need is greatest and the commercial viability of the ATM is marginal.

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