NOTE

Stirling Plant (Hire and Sales) Ltd v Stirling Council
Kwik-Fit Holdings Ltd v Stirling Council

These compensation claims are related because the plots to which they refer are situated on an island site and there are related ransom access value claims. The valuation date is 15 March 1996. In June 2003 the respondents had brought motions before the Tribunal in relation to the specification of the first claimants’ valuations and a proposal to conjoin the applications. On that occasion parties had agreed firstly that the first claimants would lodge reasoned valuations and secondly that the claims would not be conjoined in the situation where the second claimants had appealed against the conditions attached to a Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development and the first claimants wished to proceed with their claim.

On 23 June 2004 the Tribunal heard two similar motions by the respondents. Firstly, although reasoned valuations had been lodged by the first claimants, the respondents still complained in certain respects about the specification of these, had inserted ‘calls’ into the pleadings and wished an order against the first claimants to answer these calls. That motion was opposed. Secondly, the respondents renewed their motion to conjoin the cases (or at least order them to be heard at the same sitting). This time, the first claimants did not oppose that course, but the second claimants (who have consistently wished their claims to be postponed until after resolution of the first claimants’ claim) opposed it.

The first claimants were represented by Roy Martin Q.C. and Gavin MacColl, advocate, instructed by Messrs Simpson & Marwick. The second claimants were represented by Robert Sutherland, Advocate, instructed by Messrs Anderson Strathern. The respondents were represented by Christopher Haddow Q.C., instructed by Messrs Dundas & Wilson.

Specification

Mr Haddow drew the Tribunal’s attention to two areas in which he complained that the reasoned valuations did not disclose the first claimants’ case in any meaningful way. Firstly, in relation to four particular use classes identified in the C.A.A.D., while there were value figures in a tabulation appended, there had been no reasoned valuation at all. Secondly, in relation to ransom issues, while there was reference to the full development value of the site which would require the access, no residual value or development appraisal had been provided.

Mr Martin submitted that there was sufficient specification of the alternative use values. On the ransom issues, he submitted that the claim was based on hope value based on knowledge at the valuation date, and not a value based on a detailed appraisal value.

The Tribunal bears in mind firstly that a claimant who does not provide full specification of the support for the claimed valuation or parts of it will be limited in the lines which can be pursued in evidence at the hearing of the claim; secondly, that the claimant will of course be required to intimate comparisons and productions, which would be expected to include expert valuation reports, prior to the hearing; but thirdly, that the respondent authority should have a fair opportunity of preparing to meet the claim, including assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their position.

As the Tribunal understands it, the claimants found generally on what they claim to be a highly strategic site at a time of town centre development and more specifically on alleged ransom value in connection with a pedestrian access which they say would be required in connection with development in the area. The pleadings contain considerable discussion of these matters and also of two particular possible uses of the site itself, one for car parking and another for a multiplex cinema. The C.A.A.D., however, would allow some other potential uses of the site.

Turning to the four uses of the subject site in which the respondents claim lack of specification in support of the values advanced, firstly, in relation to car parking it seems to the Tribunal that there is considerable pleading and elaboration of the claimants’ position. The three other uses referred to, Business, General Industrial and Storage and Distribution, appear to the Tribunal to be relied on perhaps simply as general underlying support for the value of the site. There is no notice of any particular circumstances which could be advanced at the hearing in relation to actual possibilities of such uses as opposed to assumed planning permission arising from the C.A.A.D. The claimants may or may not be able to draw support for these claimed values from comparison evidence – they have already lodged one schedule of comparisons. In that situation, it does not appear to the Tribunal necessary or reasonable to insist on further specification on these matters.

The other matter advanced by Mr Haddow relates to the lack of specification of any development appraisal or residual valuation in connection with the ransom value claim, in which, he said, the claimants sought to found on the ‘full development value’ of the adjoining site. Mr Martin said that all that was being claimed was a ‘hope’ value, but the reasoned valuation does seem to the Tribunal to go at least some way beyond that in the references to an anticipated development known as the Forthside Development and the approach to the purchase of the subject site (or at least the air-space rights necessary for a pedestrian footbridge). A development value of that development site, at £1,000,000 per acre, is claimed. Earlier, apparently in relation to the valuation of the subject site itself, it is stated that residual valuation is not considered necessary because there is sufficient comparable evidence, but it is not clear that this applies in relation to that value rate. The Tribunal considers that the respondents are entitled to know clearly whether or not there is to be any reference to any form of residual valuation and, if so, to be provided with some reasonable notice as to how it is arrived at. The Tribunal has therefore made an order for further particulars, by way of addition to the reasoned valuation, as follows:-

‘to specify, in relation to each of the claims in Part B (Ransom Access for Plot 3) and Part C (Ransom Access for Forthside Development) whether the claimed development values for Plot 3 and/or the Forthside Development are calculated on the basis of reliance to any extent on any development appraisal; and, if so, to provide a reasoned valuation on the basis of any such development appraisal.’

Conjoining

Mr Haddow informed the Tribunal that there has now been a ‘C.A.A.D. inquiry’ and a Report to Ministers on 3 June 2004. The timetable for decision on that was uncertain. He also informed us about recent developments which would require to be reflected in the pleadings. The two claims plainly involved consideration of a series of detailed matters common to both. They were closely inter-linked in relation to ransom values. It would be nonsensical to proceed separately unless there was any great benefit.He envisaged that the hearing might last around three weeks, or perhaps two or three days less if heard separately. The cases required to proceed at the same time because the value of the Stirling Plant subjects depended on how much of the ransom value was taken from them by Kwik-Fit, that allocation being a matter of dispute.

Mr Martin indicated that the first claimants were now neutral on the matter of conjoining with resultant delay to their claim, subject to provision being made for those parts of the Kwik-Fit claim which related to quite separate claims, for example disturbance, being dealt with separately. He said that he could not see any materiality in the recent developments.

Mr Sutherland, however, was opposed in principle to the claims being conjoined or heard together. He described the Kwik-Fit claim as being contingent on that of Stirling Plant. He anticipated the outcome of the current C.A.A.D. appeal as being a certificate different from that issued to Stirling Plant (which was not appealed). The largest aspect of Kwik-Fit’s claim was their claim to ransom value in relation to the Stirling Plant subjects and depended on that claim. It would be harder to prepare without knowing the outcome of that claim, and, as a contingent claim, would significantly extend the hearing. It was in the overall interests of the Tribunal, as well as those of Kwik-Fit, to proceed with the Stirling Plant claim first, without the delay involved in awaiting the outcome of the C.A.A.D. appeal. He also referred to the possibility, which Mr Haddow had mentioned, of the land being handed back. He questioned the purpose of joining the cases while that was going on in the background.

The Tribunal appreciates the potential advantages to the second claimants in being able to await the outcome of the first claimants’ case, and can also see that a conjoined hearing would be slightly longer than a hearing of the first claimants’ case and the possibility of the second claimants’ case not thereafter requiring a hearing. These advantages, however, seem to be heavily outweighed by the unsatisfactoriness, if it can be avoided, of arranging separate hearings to explore a situation common to both cases and, further, the possibility of two hearings each determining effectively the same question of allocation of ransom value between Stirling Plant and Kwik-Fit, the first hearing not having the benefit of the other claimants’ submissions on the matter. Since the first claimants are at the present time not seeking to insist on proceeding without further delay, the Tribunal is prepared to grant the respondents’ motion in principle.

Further Procedure

In view of the point raised about aspects of the Kwik-Fit claim which are completely separate, it seems more appropriate simply to record that the Tribunal will not meantime arrange a hearing in the first claimants’ case and in due course fix conjoined hearings of the two applications, with suitable arrangements to separate the hearing of some aspects of the Kwik-Fit claim along the lines requested by Mr Martin. Parties should in due course consider the most appropriate arrangements in that regard.

Mr Martin suggested a further, “By Order”, hearing in three months’ time. In the circumstances, and since the cases clearly cannot now make much further progress towards a hearing until the Kwik-Fit C.A.A.D. appeal is concluded and the pleadings finalised, the Tribunal will allow the first claimants until 9 September 2004 to comply with the order for further particulars and continue the adjustment period in that case until 23 September 2004. No formal order appears to be required at present in the second claimants’ case. A procedural hearing has been arranged for 23 September 2004. If, however, the parties are agreed on the position and on any further orders which may be required the Tribunal may not require an oral hearing on that date.

Issued: 6 July 2004
LTS/COMP/2002/3
LTS/COMP/2002/4


Certified a true copy of the statement of reasons for the decision of the Lands Tribunal issued to parties on 6 July 2004

Clerk to the Tribunal