Our client is a major TV and on line retailer in the UK, operating from its head offices and studios in London supported by a major distribution centre in The North of England. Following relocation to Chiswick in 2012 the company was concerned to minimise its exposure to business rates, which based on a rateable value of £2,350,000 represented a charge of approximately £1.15 million per annum.
The premises comprise a self-contained building on lower ground, ground and three upper floors with part of the second floor purpose adapted to studio use with a strengthened ‘zero response’ floor and double storey height.
We were appointed to advise on the business rates liability and identify opportunities for savings.
Following a full inspection and survey of the premises we identified potential over-valuation of the studio and office spaces and errors in the floor areas and entered an appeal seeking a reduction in the rateable value. At the same time the premises were affected by disturbance from the construction of a new 12 storey office building on the adjacent site which gave rise to dust, noise and vibration, interference with access and additional window cleaning. On one occasion transmissions from the studios were directly affected.
We were able to negotiate a permanent reduction in the rateable value to £1,880,000 resulting in savings over the period until the next rating revaluation in 2017 of £1,143,000.
We were unable to reach agreement on an additional temporary allowance during the period of the adjacent building works and recommended taking the matter to appeal before the Valuation Tribunal. The Tribunal awarded a temporary reduction in rateable value during the works to £1,740,000 yielding further savings of £175,000 and bringing the total saving over a 5 year period of £1,380,000.