DESCRIPTIVE RUBRIC

Valuation for rating - Floor space used for ATMs in stores and shops - Whether sites in separate rateable occupation - Approach to analysis - Whether identifiable heritable unit - Separate hereditament - Purpose of use - Purpose of occupation - Dominant occupation - Control - Rival occupancy - Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act 1854, section 42

Clydesdale Bank plc v Assessor for Lanarkshire Valuation Joint Board
Marks & Spencer plc v Assessor for Lanarkshire Valuation Joint Board
Marks & Spencer plc v Assessor for Renfrewshire Valuation Joint Board
12 February 2004
LTS/VA/2002/04, 05, 06, 07
LTS/VA/2003/08

ATMs are items of machinery and are not rateable. They may be situated in a variety of sites. A broad distinction can be drawn between "hole in the wall" machines and machines which are wholly situated within shop or store premises. The latter can be referred to as "free standing". It was not disputed that the sites of hole in the wall machines were potentially rateable as units of lands and heritage in separate occupation from the buildings of which they formed part, but circumstances could vary. Some such machines are situated within shopping malls or other public places such as hospitals. The present case was concerned with free standing machines situated within Marks and Spencers stores or within convenience shops. The machines in question had been situated on the same area of floor for years. The Assessor entered the "sites of ATM" in the roll. It was contended that the floors described was plainly heritable and was, accordingly, to be treated as a heritable unit. There was sufficient permanency about the use. The only issue, accordingly, was that of rateable occupation. Had the Bank, which owned the machines, exclusive or paramount occupation? In making that assessment it was argued that regard should be had only to the subjects treating them as a separate unit. For the ratepayer it was contended that this was a false starting point. The subjects could not be defined without proper analysis of use. In any event, it was argued that the nature of the arrangements for serving the machines pointed to the occupiers of the stores as the dominant proprietor of the subjects. They were used for their purposes.

Held that where it was not possible to identify a separate unit of lands and heritages without consideration of the arrangements for use and occupation, it was not a sound approach to take the separate existence of the unit as a starting point. Viewing matters in the round it was clear that the dominant use of the subjects was as part of the store or shop. Any rival occupation by the Bank did not significantly interfere with the use of the whole premises for the storekeeper's purposes. Accordingly the subjects should not be treated as separate units of lands and heritages. They should not be entered on the roll.

Authorities referred to:

Assessor for Aberdeenshire v Pye Telecommunications Ltd 1973 SC 157
Assessor for Renfrewshire v Old Consort Co Ltd 1960 SC 226
ITA v Assessor for Lanarkshire 1968 SC 249
James Mackie (Paisley) Limited v Assessor for Renfrewshire 1964 SC 373
London and North Eastern Railway Co v Glasgow Assessor 1937 SC 309
London Midland and Scottish Railway Co v Assessor for Public Undertakings 1937 SC 773
London Midland and Scottish Railway Co and John Menzies & Co v Assessor for Glasgow 1937 SC 288
Stringer (VO) v J Sainsbury PLC 1992 R A 16
Westminster Council v Southern Railways and Others
1936 AC 511
Text-book
Armour on Valuation for Rating


See full decision:  LTS/VA/2002/04, 05, 06, 07 & LTS/VA/2003/08