The decision of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in Flight Centre (UK) Limited v Ricketts (VO) [2021] UKUT 0315 (LC) concerns the 2017 rating list assessment of a retail unit in Upper Street, Islington, London. The Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) had dismissed an appeal by the ratepayer against the assessment of Rateable Value £127,000 with effect from 1 April 2017, and the ratepayer appealed to the Upper Tribunal against that dismissal.

The main issue in the appeal, which was heard under the Upper Tribunal’s simplified procedure, was the Zone A rate for the appeal property. The Appellant argued for £1,600 per square metre, and the Respondent Valuation Officer for £2,000 per square metre, having argued before the VTE for a Zone A value of £2,100 per square metre.

The appeal property is situated on the west side of Upper Street, to the north of the entrance to the Angel Shopping Centre. The parties disagreed on whether the location of the appeal property, at the northern end of a parade of shops about 140 metres long, was less valuable than the location of shops further south in the parade, and closer to the entrance to the shopping centre.

The ratepayer argued that the location of the appeal property was less valuable and sought to support this by reference to the rent of the appeal property in comparison with other rents in the parade, and by reference to a simple pedestrian count.

The respondent argued that the appeal property should have the same Zone A value as the rest of the parade, based on rental evidence in the parade over a period of years, which he considered did not show any clear evidence of differential movement in rental values in different parts of the parade.

The Tribunal expressed concerns about some details of the evidence submitted by both parties – for example that there was no copy of the lease of the appeal property supplied by the appellant, and that there were no forms of return supplied by the respondent to support the rents being referred to. The Tribunal was also concerned that the pedestrian count referred to by the appellant was of no assistance (having been taken on just one day and some years after the valuation date) and that the respondent had focussed on rental movements and “trends”, rather than trying to establish the correct Zone A value. The parties had agreed a 5% shape allowance for Zone B, Zone C and Remainder, but the Tribunal considered this was insufficient to reflect the irregular shape of the appeal property, and applied a 5% overall allowance.

The Tribunal determined that the appeal property should have a ZA value of £1,800 per square metre, less the 5% allowance for shape, and allowed the appeal in part, reducing the RV from £127,000 to RV £104,600.

This was a valuation decision, based on its own evidence, with no issues of law involved. The Tribunal’s decision in respect of Zone A value falls at the mid-point between the positions argued for by the parties on this issue, but then applies a 5% overall end allowance. The decision is of more general interest because of the commentary from the Upper Tribunal about the detail of some of the evidence presented, and reminds parties of the need to provide proper documentation to support evidence being referred to in appeals to the Upper Tribunal.