Perseverance pays off at Village office scheme

It was a victory two years in the making for occupiers at the Village office scheme in South Normanton, after Alastair Fearn of FHP’s Business Rates team managed to successfully reduce their business rates, upon instructing a coordinated appeal against the Valuation Office’s assessment of the Rateable Value at the scheme.

The prestigious Village Office scheme has benefited from savings totalling £250,000, coming not only from a reduction of their rateable values, but also upon receipt of refunds for their high payments, which date back to 2010 when the last rating assessment was set. Companies to gain from the savings include the Schools Advisory Service, Rowan Construction and Sladen Estates.

Alastair Fearn commented:
“Whilst the rate applied to the office buildings at The Village was, in my opinion, too high due to the level of the rents achieved, on the face of it, the methodology adopted by the Valuation Office was sound. I was, however, of the opinion that due to the level of speculative construction in 2008 around the Junction 28 area, this had negatively affected the rental values that could be achieved at The Village.

To help form my case, I put together both take up and supply rates for offices in the area, from 2007 onwards. This illustrated that, aside from the effect of the economic downturn, the level of supply from 2008 was to such an extent that it significantly outweighed the level of demand that could be reasonably expected and would therefore have had a negative effect on rental values.”

The Valuation Office believed that, due to the prevailing high rents achieved upon completion of the office development in 2004, the Rateable Values set in 2010 should correspond and reflect this. After coordinated appeals were placed, to highlight the unsustainable aspect of the high rental values, the rateable values were successfully lowered. The reduction is also likely to have a positive impact upon the next rating review, which is to take place in March 2017.