Denbies Wine Estate, based in Dorking, Surrey and one of the UK’s largest vineyards was concerned by the rating assessment on both the 2010 and 2017 Lists and needed advice on how they could appeal.
Established in 1986, Denbies Wine Estate became the first vineyard in the country to provide tours of the wine producing process. Expanding beyond its vineyard, the operation now includes two restaurants, a shop and conference and function facilities, including the hosting of weddings. With all the ancillary businesses the challenge was how the operation should be valued ignoring the actual vineyard. In the 2010 List, the Valuation Office Agency valued the property at £165,000. For the 2017 List the VOA increased the R.V to a massive £320,000
With extensive knowledge of the valuation process, the law and how it applies to a variety of businesses, Hartnell Taylor Cook’s Business Rates team identified that the Valuation Officer had incorrectly applied the wrong method in valuing the commercial elements of the vineyard by applying a percentage of the fair maintainable trade.
It was argued that these parts of the business should be valued by the comparable basis and proved this through the analysis of the business rates assessment for most of the 36 vineyards located in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. This argument was accepted by the VO and the valuation was adjusted, reducing the Rateable Value to £97,000.
The 2017 List Appeal was also agreed and the VO confirmed that the basis for the current List should be done on the comparable basis. This resulted in the current assessment being reduced from £320,000 to £116,000 achieving a reduction of over 63% for the client.
Denbies have made a net saving of approximately £443,000 covering the period 2015-2021 in their business rates, making a massive difference to the business and its future growth.
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Hartnell Taylor Cook
5th November 2020