Sporting rates specialist joins Savills

09 October 2017

Peter Wilkinson MRICS IRRV (Hons) Registered Valuer, joins Savills to lead sporting appeals and assist on rating matters throughout Scotland.  He comes directly from  the Scottish Assessors Association (SAA) where he worked on both the 2010 and 2017 Revaluations, specialising in telecommunications, fishings and shooting rights.

Peter has worked in rating for the last 26 years.  Prior to his role at Scottish Assessors Association (SAA), he personally handled in excess of 1,600 appeals, acting against the Assessor and Valuation Office throughout the UK. Peter has particular expertise in the recent re-introduction of Deer Forest and Shooting Right entries into the Valuation Roll and has valued all of the initial 'Phase One' entries raised throughout Ayrshire. As a consequence he has an intimate knowledge of all matters leading up to the currently adopted Valuation Scheme and of the issues that now need to be addressed.

The task has only just commenced, with some 10,300 entries raised in Phase One.  Phase Two entries are to be raised before 31st March 2018 so they may take effect from the required date of 1st April 2017. 

Hugo Struthers, Savills Head of Rural Professional services in Scotland said:  “We are fortunate to have secured Peter’s particular expertise at such a critical time, when thousands of sporting rates notices are arriving on the door mats of rural businesses, a huge number of which are likely to contain anomalies. The rural sector needs be proactive in addressing these as the Sporting revaluation is relying on the appeals system to ensure payments are fair and equitable”.

Speaking of the task ahead, Peter said:  “This new Valuation Scheme has been drafted and implemented under considerable pressure by an already stretched SAA.  Several Assessor regions are considerably behind in their entry raising exercise. This is a new and challenging scheme of valuation for the Assessor, so far executed under very short timescales and with limited quality information being made available. As a consequence several short cuts and assumptions have been made.”

“It is widely mooted that up to 80% of entries raised are likely to contain an error. Exactly what these might be made up of can only be clarified after an initial pre appeal appraisal.  There are other key issues that must be addressed through the appeal process. These will potentially have wide ranging and long term implications for all landowners.  As such it is imperative that these issues are fully scrutinised through the appeal process.”

According to Savills, landowners need to take proactive steps to identify anomolies:  they need to gather together all valuation notices received, along with the information provided in their information request forms, and finally they need to investigate how the immediate liability can be mitigated by the available reliefs and processes.

Peter continued:  “Ratepayers have a relatively small window of opportunity to submit an appeal either directly or, given the complexities involved, seek professional representation to dispute any part of the valuation assessment they have been issued.

“Despite the currently available reliefs, even modest entries now raised are likely to be enough to tip land owners with multiple entries into part or full liability.  The Small Business Bonus Scheme is not guaranteed beyond 2017-18.”

“There is also the added threat of visits by Assessor staff seeking to inspect and raise further entries relating to any associated buildings, for example deer or game larders, chillers, stores, kennels and shoot bothies..

“There is also the very real prospect of water rates being charged against the shooting right entry:  this being irrespective of whether Small Business Bonus relief is applied. Whilst it is understood the Scottish Government has asked Scottish Water not to exercise this right against the main shooting entry, they can do so (just as they have done regarding other similar entries such as 'ground' etc. from 1st April onwards this year).  Regardless it is widely anticipated that water rates WILL be charged against the ancillary buildings entries and that cumulo part which is integral within any owner occupied 'Deer Forest' entries”.

The deadline for appealing against the initial Phase One entries is 31st March 2018. If rate payers do not appeal they will be judged as accepting their valuations and instead be used by Assessors as an argument against those entries that do appeal.

After some 22 years exclusion from the Valuation Roll, during which there have been significant changes within the sector and additional legislation and responsibilities being placed on land owners and sporting occupiers, it is crucial all of the issues at play are now addressed and reflected in these new assessments. 

According to Peter, this will not yet be the case and Assessors are relying on the appeals process to perfect the  rating revaluation system.  He said:  “The appeal process, in tandem with any relief actions, is now the only remaining means by which to mitigate liabilities and challenge the shortfalls in  this new Valuation Scheme. The implementation of Phase Three (beyond 1st April 2018) is already being discussed by the SAA.

“Please do not allow empathy to rule the day and seek advice from a rating professional at the earliest opportunity”.   

Peter has been a key part of the SAA's Shootings Working Group.  A keen country sports enthusiast, he has co-authored the currently adopted Practice Note and internal Guidance Note.

 
 

Key Contacts

Beth Hocking

Beth Hocking

PR Manager
Press Office

Savills Edinburgh

+44 (0) 131 247 3739