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Councillors want ‘urgent’ meeting over non-domestic rates changes

Market Street, Armagh today

The council is to seek an urgent meeting with Land and Property Services to discuss the implications on local businesses of the recent revaluation of rates for non-domestic properties.

And DUP Alderman Carla Lockhart has said that the high number of appeals to rates changes which had been expected had not materialised.

Head of Finance Graham Coulter had presented a report on the issue to the council’s governance, policy and resources committee.

SF Councillor Keith Haughian urged councillors to visit the Land & Property Services website to see the impact of non-domestic revaluation and said he would like to see the proposed meeting being treated as urgent.

He stressed that the small business rate relief which many depended upon was due to end in 2016 and he would like to make it clear at any meeting that council was opposed to that and wished to see the relief being extended.

Alderman Lockhart also believed they needed to meet Land and Property Services as a matter of urgency.

She said she understood from local Land & Property Services that the large number of revaluation appeals expected had not been received and therefore it was important that council would continue to encourage those with increased rates bills to appeal them.

Head of Finance Mr Coulter said rate relief was dealt with by a separate section, but Land & Property Services was keen to discuss rates in general as well as revaluations.

He understood that the agency was keen to develop an ongoing partnership with council and this could be covered at a workshop.

At previous council and committee meetings councillors have requested more information on the impact of the non-domestic revaluation within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon areas.

Land and Property Services had prepared a series of briefing papers outlining the effects of the revaluation in each of three former council areas.

LPS had used the relationship between the District Rate and the Regional Rate and applied this to the NI Growth and Council Growth factors to estimate a Weighted Council Growth factor for each of the areas.

The NI Growth Factor of 1.08 and the Armagh City & District Council Growth Factor of 1.23 produces a Weighted Council Growth Factor of 1.15.

The change to an individual property NAV can be compared to the Weighted Council Growth factor to give an indication of what the rate liability would have been for that property on the basis of its new NAV.

In the Armagh City and District Council area 34.34% of properties showed a change in value less than the Weighted Council Growth factor. This means that if the new values had been used in 2014/15 those ratepayers would likely have seen a decrease in their rate bill.

The non-domestic Valuation List for the old Armagh City and District Council area contained 2,426 non-domestic properties. This includes 606 shops / retail premises; 476 office premises; 393 warehouse and storage premises; 173 manufacturing premises; 61 licensed public houses; 56 schools, and 196 churches and church halls.

In the Banbridge District Council area 46.73% of properties showed a change in value less than the Weighted Council Growth factor. This means that if the new values had been used in 2014/15 those ratepayers would likely have seen a decrease in their rate bill.

The non-domestic Valuation List for Banbridge District Council area contains 1,727 non-domestic

properties. This includes 523 shops / retail premises; 285 office premises; 323 warehouse and storage premises; 99 manufacturing premises; 43 licensed public houses; 34 schools, and 117 churches and church halls.

In the Craigavon Borough Council area 46.14% of properties show a change in value less than the Weighted Council Growth factor. This means that if the new values had been used in 2014/15 those ratepayers would likely have seen a decrease in their rate bill.

The non-domestic Valuation List for the old Craigavon Borough Council area contains 3,409 non-domestic properties. This is made up of 1111 shops / retail premises; 631 office premises; 696 warehouse and storage premises; 252 manufacturing premises; 38 licensed public houses; 47 schools, and 153 churches and church halls.

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