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.

The Leekes Retail and Leisure Group have substantial property assets within the group and have engaged Andrew West to appeal against rating assessments on these properties since 2010. We have consistently been impressed by Andrew's knowledge of the property market and his negotiating skills have been exceptional. Given Andrew's outstanding performance, we would not hesitate to recommend Andrew to any business large or small seeking to appeal their rates liabilities.

Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director, Leekes Group