I’m a Partner here at Gerald Eve and work as part of the Specialist Rating team. I am a business rates expert with expertise in local authority, police and educational properties and those used for charitable purposes. I’m responsible for our firm’s advice to public sector clients in London and the South East and am involved in most of the valuations and negotiations. I also continue to take a leading role in national co-ordination and discussions with the Valuation Office for educational properties.
I have extensive experience of advising clients on Business Rates and Council Tax matters. As well as making appeals and negotiating with the Valuation Office, this advice includes rates budgeting and various rating reliefs and exemptions, including charitable, empty rates, properties used by the disabled, theological and facilities ancillary to public open space. I’m very experienced in representing clients at the Valuation Tribunal.
The main focus of my work is the 2017 Rating Revaluation. For this, my key clients include the City of London Corporation, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Cambridge City Council, Surrey & Sussex Police, the Oxford Colleges, University of Durham, Westminster School, and two of the largest schools’ groups – Alpha Plus and Cognita.
MY RECENT PROJECTS
- Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) – I particularly enjoy the challenge of valuing unusual properties for rating purposes and none more so than the Old Bailey. This forms part of my instruction from the City of London as the building is part of their operational estate. I have recently resolved appeals in the 2010 Rating List with a reduction from £3,000,000 to £2,550,000. There were some very complex issues to overcome on the state of repair and how the urgent need for replacement of all the heating and air conditioning plant should be reflected in the assessment at the relevant valuation date.
- Oxford Colleges – I have provided strategic advice and rating appeal services to the 35 Oxford colleges and associated institutions for many years, through their central bursars’ committee. My advice is currently in two main areas. Firstly, starting to appeal the 2017 Rateable Values now that our education team at Gerald Eve have agreed the national Higher Education valuation basis with the Valuation Office. Secondly, providing general and specific advice on the completion of large numbers of varied Forms of Return, served by the Valuation Office, in preparation for the Rating Revaluation in April 2021
- Council Tax – This forms a significant part of my work, not so much appealing on the Bands A to H, but advising on exemptions, reliefs and whether single or multiple assessments should apply – from large private homes to convents and university halls of residence. A particularly large project has concerned Cambridge University’s new town development on the outskirts of Cambridge intended for key worker housing. The issue here was the correct effective date for the Council’s Completion Notices on 350 new dwellings, which involved extensive research on the phasing of and delays with the construction process and negotiating with Cambridge City Council. This resulted in earlier dates being achieved in all cases and large savings to the University, who were being charged Council Tax on dwellings which were far from complete.