Rating Manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all property classes

Section 1085: leisure attractions

This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.

1. Scope

A leisure attraction can be defined as “A place that people visit for pleasure and interest, often while they are on holiday.” This section applies to a variety of leisure attraction premises to include, but not exclusively, Tourist Attractions, Farm Attractions, Model Villages, Pitch and Putt Golf Courses, Lakes with Watersports Facilities, Miniature Railways, War Games Courses/Miscellaneous Agricultural Use, Theme Parks, Agricultural Showgrounds, Aquaria, Heritage Railways, Pleasure Piers, Zoos & Safari Parks, as well as Miscellaneous Leisure.

Some of the attractions have specific and individual Practice Notes, descriptions and valuation instructions and where this is the case reference should be made to them.

2. List Description and Special Category Code

There are various categories of property which are covered under the overall umbrella of leisure attractions, which all have separate descriptions and codes as listed below:

Tourist Attractions:

List description xxxx and Premises - The description should suit the activity. Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 284, suffix S/G This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

Farm Attractions:

List description: Farm Leisure Attraction or Farm Park and Premises, including (part exempt) where appropriate. Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 284, suffix S/G This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

Model Villages:

List description: Model Village and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 188, suffix S/G This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

Amusement Parks:

List description: Amusement Park and Premises Primary Description Code: LT4 SCAT code: 012, suffix S/G This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

Pitch and Putt Golf Courses:

List description: Pitch and Putt Course and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 426, suffix G This is a generalist class.

Lakes with Watersport Facilities:

List description: xxxx and Premises. The description should suit the activity, Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 145, suffix S/G

This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

Fully commercial occupations, such as dive lakes or lakes where the operator provides water sports as a commercial activity are covered by this section and the associated Practice Note. This class will also cover a variety of sports clubs where the sporting activity is water based and the hereditament includes the lake or an exclusive right to use the lake for the pertinent sport in addition to the buildings. This will include sailing, rowing and water ski clubs. These types of typically non-commercial occupation are covered in Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 970 - sports grounds.

Miniature Railways:

List description: Miniature Railway and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 421, suffix G This is a generalist class.

War Games Courses/ Miscellaneous Agricultural Use:

List description; xxxx and Premises - The description should suit the activity Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 296, suffix G This is a generalist class of property.

Theme Parks:

List description: Theme Park and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 280, suffix N This is a national specialist class of property dealt with by the National Specialists Unit.

Agricultural Showgrounds:

List description: Agricultural Showground and Premises Primary Description Code: MX SCAT code: 004, suffix S/N This is a split class of property with the National Specialists valuing the more complex and larger properties. Unit Specialists will deal with the rest.

Aquaria:

List description: Aquarium and Premises Primary Description Code: MX SCAT code: 403, suffix S This is a specialist class.

Heritage Railways:

List description: Heritage Railway and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 128, suffix S This is a specialist class.

Pleasure Piers:

List description: Pleasure Pier and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 213, suffix S This is a specialist class.

Zoos and Safari Parks:

List description: Zoo/Safari Park and Premises Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 304, suffix S This is a specialist class.

Miscellaneous Leisure:

List description: The description should suit the activity. Primary Description Code: LX SCAT code: 993, suffix S/G This is a split class of property with Specialists in each Business Unit valuing the more complex and larger properties.

3. Responsible Teams

Paragraph 2 above details the team/s responsible for each of the classes covered by this Section.

4. Co-ordination

The Class Co-ordination Team has overall responsibility for the co-ordination of these classes. The team is responsible for the approach to and accuracy and consistency of valuations. The team will deliver Practice Notes describing the valuation basis for revaluation and provide advice as necessary during the life of the rating lists. Caseworkers have a responsibility to:

  • follow the advice given at all times
  • not depart from the guidance given on appeals or maintenance work, without approval from the co-ordination team
  • seek advice from the co-ordination team before starting any new work

The description of “Leisure Attraction” covers a wide spectrum of properties. No specific restrictions are believed to exist for the general property class, however, the following legal factors, which may be more specific to certain individual classes need to be considered. If relevant, they may have a significant effect on income and/or expenses.

  • the minimum wage – many tourist attractions employ casual labour, students etc. Wage costs have risen significantly with increases in the minimum wage.
  • health and safety/insurance – all sites open to the public are likely to have increased costs arising out of the increasingly stringent Health and Safety requirements, such as regular independent inspections, and the high level of insurance premiums. Those more potentially hazardous sites involving machinery and working parks e.g. theme parks, amusement parks etc. are likely to have been impacted more in this respect than the more tranquil style of tourist attraction.
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – this is a concern for any facility open to the public, but is more likely to involve increased capital costs and consultants’ fees for new ventures in building or converting premises.

6. Survey Requirements

The majority of valuations for leisure attractions will be undertaken by reference to trading receipts. In order to understand the extent and nature of activities to be included in the valuation it is essential that a site plan is provided which details all the features of the property.

Any buildings will need to be fully referenced and measured to GEA/NIA (subject to use) in accordance with the VOA Code of Measuring Practice for Rating Purposes.

7. Survey Capture

In all cases plans and surveys should be stored in the property folder of the Electronic Document Records Management (EDRM) system.

8. Valuation Approach

8.1.1. Rental Method

Where rental information is available it needs to be carefully examined to ensure that it is an arm’s length transaction and accords with the requirements of rateable value or can be sensibly adjusted to so accord. Frequently lettings are between connected parties and are simply accounting transactions. They can also often disregard substantial tenants improvements, which will necessitate considerable adjustment. Any analysis of such rents will, therefore, need to be treated with caution.

If possible, the adjusted rent should be tested against a receipts and expenditure analysis, and the resultant valuation expressed in terms of a percentage of gross receipts. Comparison with the analysis outcomes from other similar such hereditaments should be undertaken as a further check.

8.1.2. Gross Receipts

Where there is no reliable rental evidence but it can be discerned that the intention to trade profitably is the prime motive of occupation then a valuation based on the accounts will be the best starting point. Full copies of audited accounts for at least 3 years prior to the date of valuation should be requested. This approach is the preferred method in respect of larger “one-off” attractions, particularly Theme Parks. Guidance as to the analysis of accounts is provided in Rating Manual : Section 4 - Part 2

Over several rating lists, receipts based valuations have been accepted as being appropriate for this class. A comparative valuation approach (percentage of gross receipts) has been adopted in most cases, and is applicable where full and detailed accounts are not provided. Where they are made available, a full receipts and expenditure valuation should be undertaken, particularly where there is insufficient rental evidence.

Although the tenant’s share may be regarded as the first charge upon the divisible balance, it does not follow that the landlord’s position should be ignored. In determining the tenant’s share, and hence the RV, the relative negotiating strengths of the two (willing) parties, the business risks in the enterprise and the quantum of their respective investments will be relevant.

The hypothetical landlord will have invested significant capital in the property, and will expect an adequate return. Where there is insufficient profit available for both the tenant and landlord to achieve their desired level of return a compromise will be required.

As with other forms of valuation, it is necessary to “stand back and look” at the final figure and consider whether in all the circumstances it correctly shows the rent which would be paid under the statutory terms. In certain cases, a full receipts and expenditure valuation may produce a NIL result or a very low figure, which manifestly cannot reflect the letting value of the attraction. In such an instance, for the very best reason that the answer produced cannot be right, the full receipts and expenditure valuation might properly be rejected in favour of an approach based upon a percentage of gross receipts. An increasing number of the lower value leisure attractions are hobby or second income based activities. In the case of a hobby interest, the motivation of the operator is not necessarily to be commercially viable, but to share their personal interest with a wider public and to mitigate the costs and at least in part help fund their hobby.

The case of Rank Organisation Ltd v Billett (VO) 1958 R&IT 650, concerned the valuation of a cinema, which was operating at a loss. There it was held appropriate to adopt a percentage of gross receipts to derive the bid of the hypothetical tenant - the basis being that the actual tenant holding on in hope of better times could be considered as the hypothetical tenant, and as he was probably the only possible tenant, the assessment would be the rent he would pay.

Farm based attractions, however, can present many problems in undertaking a full receipts and expenditure valuation. The tourist attraction element is often based around pre-existing and surplus ex-farm buildings and the land is already in occupation and use of the operator. Areas of the land often have dual agricultural and diversification use. Frequently there is only a single set of accounts to cover all the operations. Even where the tourist attraction has separate accounts, the expenditure adjustments will prove difficult as machinery (eg tractors etc) and even other staff may be “borrowed” from the agricultural enterprise as required. (See also Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 385 - farm diversifications).

Where full accounts are not available valuations should be as a percentage of Gross Receipts (net of VAT) with concession income being valued separately (see 8.3). The appropriate yield should ideally be taken from local comparable evidence but see the relevant Practice Note for further guidance.

The adopted Gross Receipts should be that which would have been agreed between the parties as at AVD, looking forward and taking into account perceived trends, risks and uncertainties at that date. Care should be taken in considering abnormal years’ trade due to weather, two Easter holidays falling within the year or other local circumstances.

Where gross receipts for the year prior to AVD are not available, then a judgement will have to be made having regard to as many as possible of the following:

a. any historic turnover figures available, together with knowledge of other similar attractions and the likely movement in gross receipts to AVD

b. estimated gross receipts - tourist board reports usually include a list of the main attractions and visitor numbers over recent years, for various attractions. Coupled with a recent brochure or knowledge of entrance fees it is possible to produce a reasonable estimate based on visitor numbers and a perceived average spend. Care must be taken if adopting this approach, as published visitor numbers may include parties of schoolchildren admitted free or at reduced rates and there will generally be income streams from such other sources as shops cafes and specific rides which would not be shown in the entrance fee. There may also be separate concessions.

c. “Visits to Visitor Attractions”, which is published annually by VisitEngland and VisitWales, gives visitor numbers for both the year of publication and the previous year together with current ticket prices

d.a comparison with assessments of similarly trading properties.

8.2 Valuation Considerations

8.2.1. Tenant’s Capital/Risk

In order to consider the rental percentage bid for any property type it is necessary to have regard to:

a. the amount of tenant’s capital required to provide all those elements of non rateable equipment, rides, animals etc, coupled with; b. the operational risk, in particular the degree of competition faced within the particular catchment area.

8.2.2. Fixed Costs

For a lot of attractions, costs are largely fixed, and even quite significant differences in visitor numbers will only have a marginal effect on costs. Thus, whilst increased visitor numbers may require a few additional staff on the gate or in the café, such additional costs are marginal, and once receipts have reached the “break even” point, profitability can increase rapidly. Conversely, even quite a small fall in visitor numbers can have a marked impact on profitability.

It is thus too simplistic to say that all attractions within a certain type should be valued at the same percentage, since profitability will vary disproportionately to the variation in gross receipts.

8.3 Licences, Let outs and Concessions

There is an increasing trend for occupiers to grant licences for concessions. Most commonly this would involve the cafeteria, ice cream sales or shop/fast food outlets and in the case of larger amusement/theme parks, to companies specialising in the provision of amusement facilities. It is essential to establish who is in paramount control of the various parts of the property and to determine the extent of the hereditament(s).

Where the let out is a separate hereditament the rent or licence fee, etc, should not be included in the gross income to avoid double counting, unless ability to pay is being considered.

Where a concession remains part of the attraction hereditament, rental or licence fees should be treated separately from the trading turnover of the attraction. This concession income can be treated in a number of ways:

a. Concession income can be grossed up to reflect the concessionaire’s operating costs (let-outs are often based on a percentage of gross receipts), then added to the main turnover. The resultant gross turnover, of the whole, can then be more easily compared with that of other operators, who may run catering, retail, etc. in-house. Similarly, income from other years can be compared on a like for like basis, even if the position regarding concessions has changed over time.

b. Where gross turnover, of the whole, has been calculated as above, a full R&E valuation can be carried out, since expenses incurred in repairing, maintaining, insuring, heating, lighting and servicing the let out area or building will normally be included within the fixed or variable costs of the “host” hereditament.

c. Where gross turnover of the concession is not known, but the hypothetical tenant is responsible for provision and maintenance of the facility from which the concession holder trades, the concession income is thus a “below the line” payment to the hypothetical tenant and should be added to the divisible balance resulting from a full receipts and expenditure valuation of the “host” hereditament, to produce the overall RV.

d. Where the valuation is carried out on the basis of a percentage of gross receipts and the concession remains part of the hereditament, rental or licence payments should be considered separately from the trading turnover. Concession income should be valued at a percentage within the range of 25% – 50% depending on the level of the occupier’s expenditure. This will be at the higher end where receipts involve the landlord in minimal expense, and at the lower end where the rateable occupier is responsible for all repairing liabilities, provision of services or significant non-rateable items. The resultant figure should then be added to the rateable value calculated for the main part of the hereditament.

9. Valuation Support

All valuations should be entered onto the Non-Bulk Server (NBS) under the relevant Scat Code.

Additional support is available through:

  • Survaid.
  • Class Co-ordination Team for Leisure Attractions.

Practice note 1: 2017 - Leisure attractions

1. Market Appraisal

1.1 Background

Over time, tastes and expectations have changed. In essence many tourists and visitors are no longer prepared to merely stand and look at something for entertainment, they require a much higher level of stimulation and “hands-on” activities.

Funding availability through the National Lottery and Heritage Lottery have also changed the dynamics of the leisure industry particularly in the usual tourist locations. Whilst Lottery funding is only available for capital expenditure, this has encouraged development of new leisure facilities and improvement of existing facilities. However at times such capital grant provision has created a facility which has not been able to develop the necessary critical mass of visitor numbers and annual income to sustain itself.

Many operators have responded to these changes in customer expectations by offering new technology in terms of interactive rides and games, laser shooting etc., and have often done well as a result. Conversely, some of the more traditional attractions, such as bird gardens, model villages and show caves, which have not moved with the times are in relative decline.

There are also examples of operators who have incorrectly identified the changing demands of the public, and in an attempt to maintain visitor numbers have branched out into additional facilities, which do not appeal to their core visitor market. Consequently, they have increased costs, without achieving the expected increase in revenue.

1.2 Latest Statistics

The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) has published the following information in relation to UK Tourism Statistics -

Tourism not only provides fun and entertainment for visitors but is vital to the UK economy. The tourism sector is predicted to grow at 3.8% until 2014, faster than the UK’s overall predicted annual growth.

BALPPA speaks for over 300 visitor attractions – including iconic attractions such as the London Eye, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Madame Tussauds, Alton Towers and Thorpe Park – and ultimately for many millions of customers every year.

Key UK Tourism Statistics:

The tourism industry is responsible for over 3 million jobs, making up 9.6% of all UK jobs.

Tourism is currently worth £126 billion, equivalent to 9% of UK GDP.

UK residents taking day trips is worth £57 billion in 2013 (equating to 1.4 billion day trips)

An additional £24 billion is from UK residents staying on a UK bound tourism trip overnight (totalling 101.8 million overnight trips).

This compares to 18.5 billion trips from all international tourists, both from the EU and from further afield.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) currently has 57 members and reported in March 2015 that its members’ visitor figures for 2014 had seen an average increase of 6.5% on the previous year. Scottish attractions had the greatest increase of almost 10% increase, followed by London with an increase of 7.1%.

2. Changes from the last Practice Note

There are no changes from the broad principles followed for the 2010 Rating Lists and the approach therefore is the same.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

None at present.

4. Valuation Scheme

4.1. Rental Method

Rents, where available, will provide useful evidence of value, but can often disregard substantial tenant’s improvements, necessitating considerable adjustment. Any analysis of such rents will, therefore, need to be treated with caution.

If possible, the adjusted rent should be tested against a receipts and expenditure valuation, and the resultant valuation expressed in terms of a percentage of gross receipts to facilitate comparison with the assessments of similar hereditaments.

4.2. Accounts Information

When accounts are available it is essential that information is provided for at least three years prior to the Antecedent Valuation Date. This will then give a comprehensive guide as to past trading achievements, identify any trend and enable the fair maintainable trade to be estimated. The rental bid of the hypothetical tenant at the AVD can then be derived and will take into account likely future levels of receipts and expenditure.

The tenant’s rental bid, and hence the quantum of the tenant’s share, will be affected by the type of hereditament, the degree of profit foreseen in the coming year, the likelihood of profits rising or falling, the degree to which they are likely to rise or fall and the time period before they do.

4.3. Comparative Approach

In the absence of rental or full accounts information, tourist and visitor attractions should be valued on the comparative approach, by reference to a percentage of Fair Maintainable Trade, net of VAT. With concession income either grossed up to reflect the concessionaire’s operating costs, then added to the main turnover and a single percentage applied to the whole, or valued separately in the range of 25% - 50%, with the resultant figure added to that attributed to the main property, to produce the overall RV.

Analysis of the available evidence indicates that bid ranges in each class of property have changed very little from those adopted for the 2010 Rating Lists, although there may be significant changes to individual properties. The RPI from April 2008 to April 2015 shows an increase of some 20%, which would imply that an attraction will need to have increased receipts by a similar percentage to have “stood still” in terms of profitability. In fact, bearing in mind the increased cost possibilities discussed at paragraph 5 of the main Rating Manual Section, for many properties the turnover will need to have increased in excess of this RPI average for profitability (and rental bid) to have remained the same. This needs to be borne in mind when considering the percentage to be applied to gross receipts for 2017. If gross turnover has increased, unless profitability has also increased, it is unlikely to be appropriate to apply the same percentage to gross receipts as for 2010.

As a generality, the following percentage ranges should apply:-

Low profitability and/or low trading 4 - 7%

Typically this range will apply to the higher fixed cost enterprises (such as animal or bird based attractions) and those with high operating costs (such as Heritage Railways). It will include the poorer trading farm parks and generally those sites where there are high fixed costs to actual income.

Particularly, it will apply to those hobby and second income enterprises that are not commercially viable – i.e. where a full receipts and expenditure valuation would show only a small or nil divisible balance.

Average profitability 6.5 – 8.5%

This range will cover the majority of properties across a wide range of classes – including the better and poorer examples of classes that might more typically be in the profitability ranges shown above and below.

They will all be commercially viable trading entities, where the resultant RV can be supported by a full receipts and expenditure valuation.

High profitability / high trading 8 - 11% Typically this range will apply to the highest profitability properties such as amusement and fun parks and other modern "high tech" attractions, together with those that have comparatively low fixed costs and risks.
Concessions    
Concession income 25 - 50% This will be at the higher end where receipts involve the landlord in minimal expense, and at the lower end where the rateable occupier is responsible for all repairing liabilities, provision of services or significant non-rateable items. The resultant figure should then be added to the rateable value calculated for the main part of the hereditament.

In order to more easily compare like with like the valuation should typically be expressed as set out in the example below:

Gross receipts (excluding concessions) £1m @ 10% = £100,000
Concession income £100,000 @ 50% = £50,000
    RV £150,000

Care should be taken not to rigidly apply a percentage bid to any class of property – e.g. valuing all bird gardens @ 5%. Tourist and visitor attractions have largely fixed costs and once the “break even” point has been reached profitability will increase significantly, over even marginal increases in turnover.

There will be occasions where the bid will fall outside the ranges suggested above:-

  • Very low profitability/turnover properties - it is recommended that no lower than 3.5% be adopted for valuation purposes unless in exceptional circumstances.

  • Properties where the operator is providing very little in the way of facilities or infrastructure, and have low maintenance costs e.g. charging for access to a scenic viewing platform. Here a significantly higher percentage than indicated in the above scale may be appropriate.

Before adopting a bid outside the norm range, caseworkers should consult with their Class Co-ordination Team member.

Where these more unusual properties are identified more information should be sought to cross check the valuation, possibly to the extent of seeking audited accounts and undertaking a full receipts and expenditure valuation.

Practice note 2: 2017 - Lake with water sport facilities

1. Market Appraisal

There are a limited number of leisure lakes operated on a fully commercial basis. The general guidance provided in Practice Note 1 will apply. This Practice Note provides more background with regard to one particular type of user - dive lakes. Lakes suitable for this use have specific characteristics including: a good depth of water, non-silty floor to give clear water providing good visibility, reasonable site access, and items of interest for divers to explore such as specimen fish, helicopter/aircraft wrecks, vehicles and old buildings.

Commercially operated sites vary from the basic with limited shore facilities to a comprehensive range of shore facilities including changing rooms, WC and shower rooms, booking-in office, bar, cafe, shop, meeting/training rooms and air refill facilities. Sites that provide training will often have ‘classrooms’ and in some instances provide basic short-stay accommodation. The lack of some of these facilities is not necessarily an indicator of a disability as the extent of features and facilities will be reflected in the charges levied and the income received.

Whilst all sites are subject to general health and safety requirements, unless under instruction, individuals including divers use the lakes at their own risk. Thus, providing a site is not operating negligently, the operator does not have a responsibility for safety in the water. Nevertheless, the more developed sites will usually provide first aid facilities as well as having staff fully trained in resuscitation and drowning first aid.

2. Changes from the last Practice Note

There was no specific Practice Note for the 2010 Rating Lists covering these facilities.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

None at present.

4. Valuation Scheme

A major element of income for dive lake sites comes from diving courses. Care needs to be exercised to ensure all this element of income is correctly captured as often the lake facility only provides the location with either the operator providing the instruction under a different company and/or outside instructors paying for use of the lake on which they teach their course.

Low turnover sites; those with an annual turnover, net of VAT, of £75,000 pa or less, will tend to have more basic facilities. Whilst that may suggest a lower profitability, fixed operating costs will be lower and hence profitability may even be higher. From the analysis of actual accounts it is clear that the percentage range between sites with basic facilities and those with a range of facilities is quite narrow.

Valuation guidance on this class for 2017 is contained within Rating Manual Section 6 - Part 3 - Section 1085 : Leisure Attractions: Practice Note 1 : 2017. However, the analysis of available accounts indicates that a return of 6 - 7% on the net of VAT turnover is appropriate for commercial dive lakes.

Appendix 1: Gardens open to the public

This appendix is to give guidance on the approach to the assessment and valuation of gardens open to the public.

The majority of gardens will fall into one of the categories below:

i) Display gardens - usually occupied by organisations promoting horticulture, or other aspects of botany, such as the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Garden Organic and garden plant societies. It will include arboreta. They may be composite hereditaments but only insofar as there is ancillary gardeners’ or caretakers’ housing occupied as a condition of employment.

ii) Gardens established for many years, often formerly occupied with a large mansion house but now a separate occupation. Occupiers will include The National Trust (NT), charitable trusts and other similar bodies. (For the assessment of gardens in the occupation of the NT, English Heritage and other large gardens of national importance please also see RM Section 6 Part 3: S1000). These may be composite hereditaments where there is ancillary gardeners’ or caretakers’ accommodation.

iii) Those gardens forming the grounds or setting of a larger non-domestic hereditament, e.g. the gardens of a headquarters office, research facility, nursing home etc. Where a charge is made for access to the garden and it is not used in connection with the occupation of the building consideration should be given to separately assessing the garden within the parameters of rating law and practice.

iv) Gardens occupied with an historic property which is also open to the public; it may be possible to visit each part separately. The historic property may also be used as a venue for conferences, weddings and other functions. Where the garden is occupied with an historic house used in part as a residence it will be a composite hereditament.

v) Gardens, sometimes small, open to the public but occupied with houses of all types and sizes which are not open to the public. These gardens are often a hobby; they will invariably be occupied by private individuals. These will be either composite or entirely domestic hereditaments (see below).

Referencing Details Required

a. Details of all non-domestic activities carried out within the hereditament should be recorded. These may include B&B or self-catering lets and, most commonly, shop, catering and plant sales.

b. Full details of opening times and charges should be recorded.

c. A brochure, or leaflet, showing details of the garden should be obtained.

d. Visitor numbers and receipts (net of VAT) should be obtained. Where elements of the site are franchised out (most frequently the café) it is important to ascertain the rent passing and what facilities/repairs/services (gas, electric etc) and non-rateable chattels are included in the rent.

e. To gain an appreciation of the associated costs where possible a copy of the relevant accounts should be requested. Details of the number of staff (full and part-time) employed and their duties should be requested. Brief details of any volunteer staff should also be obtained.

f.

g. If the occupier is a registered charity does it have a trading company and what parts does that trading company occupy – usually shops, cafes and plant sales. Details of the arrangements on which the trading company occupies these parts should be sought.

h. The extent and nature of structural adaptations to the property to facilitate public access. For the smaller trading properties (where there is no distinct shop/café/plant sales areas) adaptations may still exist in the form of toilet facilities (perhaps specialist disabled toilets) and car parking facilities. Details of any domestic use of these parts should be obtained. The position and extent of facilities for visitors should be recorded on an extract of an OS plan which should also show the extent of the property open to the public.

i. Inheritance Tax – is the property opening to the public to satisfy the conditions of a grant award or tax relief. Is the sole reason for opening the property to the public to satisfy the terms of grant or relief.

j. Historic trading levels - the general trend for private properties and gardens is that visitor numbers have been in decline in recent years. Thus it is useful to gain as much information as possible on historic trading and the trend in visitor numbers.

k.

l. Web sites – these are extremely useful in capturing basic information, but not as a replacement for an actual site inspection. Web sites rarely under describe the facilities and quite commonly subsequent detailed discussions show that the actual property and number of visitors is rather different than the impression given on the web site.

Rateability

Gardens in categories i) to iii) above will be rateable. Category iv) will in most cases be rateable, regard should be had to the comments in RM Section 6 Part 3: s1000 paragraphs 5 and 7.

For the remainder each case must be considered on its facts, having regard to the degree of occupation, use and physical adaptations. General guidance is given below; no single test should be applied in isolation, rather it is an overall view of the nature and physical characteristics of the property. Each case will rest on its own facts 1. Adaptations and physical alterations – as a generality it should be taken that where there are physical adaptations to the property to facilitate public access, then an entry in the non domestic rating list will be required. Potentially the only exception could be where physical adaptations have taken place, but the subsequent trading has proven the property to be unviable and the current trading level represents a de minimis use. Where there is any doubt the valuer should consult with the relevant Technical Adviser or SRU specialist. Gardens with no physical adaptations and open only under the “yellow book” charity scheme for a few days a year are an example of the type that will satisfy a de minimis test and require no list entry.

  1. The definition of domestic property under S66 (1)(b) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 includes a garden ‘belonging to or enjoyed with’ living accommodation.

Where only the garden is open to the public it is likely that there would have to be very considerable use of the garden for non-domestic purposes before the total hereditament could be considered composite. This is because the enjoyment of the house is less disturbed by affording the public access to merely the garden and there are no facilities primarily there for the benefit of visitors. The point at which the use of the garden is so intense as to cease being ‘enjoyed with’, or the facilities provided for visitors can no longer be described as purely incidental to opening up a domestic garden to the public, will be a matter of fact and degree in each case.

Gardens may range from a small suburban garden to an extensive garden attached to a Stately Home or Country House of many acres. Each case will be likely to turn on its own facts. Where the degree of commercial use is felt to be more than what can be considered de minimis, full details as to the opening times, the nature, scale and extent of facilities provided, and the estimated number of visitors should be obtained and the matter referred to CEO for advice.

  1. In considering whether the non domestic use is de minimis in respect of properties with no physical adaptation, regard should be had to the:

a. Number of days per annum open to the public. As a general guide, less than 20 days would point towards a de minimis use, whereas over 20 days is likely to be rateable.

b. Level of visitor numbers and Fair Maintainable Trade.

c. Degree of advertising/promotion.

d. Intention of the occupiers – that is to say, are they seeking to achieve the highest possible trade in mitigation of their costs, or is the purpose more philanthropic or a desire to share their garden.

e. The occupant’s use of the garden for domestic purposes; where this is the dominant use and the non-domestic use and adaptation is minor then it is likely that the property will be domestic only and not a composite.

Description

The entry in the Rating List should have the description “Garden (open to the public)” or “Garden and premises (open to the public)”.

Practice note 1: 2010: Leisure attractions

1. Co-ordination

Tourist and Visitor Attractions as a class are split between Groups and Specialist Rating Units, with SRUs dealing with those over £25,000 RV. Responsibility for effective co-ordination lies with SRUs. For more information see Rating Manual section 6: part 1.

Special Category Code 284 should be used. As a split class the appropriate suffix letter should be either G or S.

All Groups have appointed a Leisure Valuation Specialist, who should be the initial point of contact for local office queries.

2. Scope of Practice Note

The terms “Tourist Attraction” or “Visitor Attraction” can be applied to a wide variety of properties (see part 2 of main section). This Practice Note is intended to cover the following classes:

Tourist Attractions Scat Code 284 SRUs deal with those where 2005 List RV exceeds £25,000.
Farm Attractions Scat Code 284 SRUs deal with those where 2005 list RV exceeds £25,000 (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 385](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-385-farm-diversification)).
Model Villages Scat Code 284 (2000 List Scat Code 188) SRUs deal with those where 2005 List RV exceeds £25,000
Amusement Parks Scat Code 012 SRUs deal with those where 2005 List RV exceeds £25,000 (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 70](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-70-amusement-parks-and-theme-parks))
Pitch and Putt Golf Courses Scat Code 426 Groups deal with all
Lakes with Watersport Facilities Scat Code 145 Groups deal with all
Miniature Railways Scat Code 421 Groups deal with all
War Games Courses/ Misc Agr Use Scat Code 296 Groups deal with all
Theme Parks Scat Code 280 SRUs deal with all (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 70](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-70-amusement-parks-and-theme-parks))
Agricultural showgrounds Scat Code 004 SRUs deal with those where 2005 List RV exceeds £25,000 (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 40](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-40-agricultural-showgrounds))
Aquaria Scat Code 403 SRUs deal with all (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 75](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-75-aquaria))
Heritage Railways Scat Code 128 SRUs deal with all (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 477](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-477-heritage-railways))
Pleasure Piers Scat Code 213 SRUs deal with all (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 790](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-790-pleasure-piers))
Zoos & Safari Parks Scat Code 304 SRUs deal with those where 2005 List RV exceeds £25,000 (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 1130](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-1130-zoos-and-safari-parks))

Specific guidance on associated classes is given in the relevant Rating Manual Section, for example:

Historic Properties Scat Code 265 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 1000](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-1000-historic-properties)
Museums (non contractors) Scat Code 196 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 715](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-715-museums-and-art-galleries)

This practice note will often be relevant for those leisure properties that do not have a specific Scat Code and fall under Miscellaneous Leisure – Scat Code 993.

3. Background

This part of the Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Part 3 of the main section.

3.1 State of the Industry

The leisure sector continues to evolve with the following factors providing the main driving force for change:

  • long stay holidays within the UK continue to be in relative decline, with increasing reliance on the short break visitor.
  • the increasing sophistication of visitors, in terms of their demand for more interesting/higher tech/interactive attractions. This is reflected in the continuing decline of the more traditional “stand and look” attractions such as show caves and model villages.
  • the growth of specialist holidays and short breaks. A good example being the opening of the Eden Project in Cornwall, with travel companies now offering specialist tours to visit gardens throughout Cornwall, with a visit to the Eden Project being the core attraction. But, whilst a major attraction like the Eden Project will bring many new visitors into the area, not all tourist attractions locally will necessarily benefit, for example the visitors to the Eden Project are probably unlikely to use the local pitch and putt golf course.
  • School holidays – in recent years schools have increasingly sought to discourage parents taking children away in term time. This is particularly affecting attractions aimed at the younger (primary age) children. Two such attractions in the RV £30,000 - £40,000 range closed in Cornwall in 2007, the further restriction to a mainly school holiday period of trading being the final straw for attractions that were in steady decline already.
  • Generally the economic climate at AVD 2008 is gloomier than was the case in 2003. Interest rates are higher; rising cost of essentials such as food and fuel; the housing market and the wider global concerns all combine to produce an air of uncertainty as to how much disposable income is available for leisure pursuits. This has in some areas been mitigated by people tending to take their holidays more in the UK than flying abroad.

Against this general background there are areas of significant growth, particularly in the expanding range of water sports and other physically active adventure pursuits. This sector is aimed primarily at the 20/30s age range.

3.2 Additional Factors

These factors are more specific to individual properties, in terms of affecting income and/or expenses.

  • the minimum wage – many tourist attractions employ casual labour, students etc. and thus their wage costs have risen significantly with increases in the minimum wage.
  • health and safety/insurance – all sites open to the public are likely to have increased costs arising out of the increasingly stringent Health and Safety requirements, such as regular independent inspections, and the high level of insurance premiums. Those more potentially “dangerous” sites involving machinery and working parks e.g. theme parks, amusement parks etc. are clearly likely to have suffered more in this respect than a more “sedate” style of tourist attraction.
  • Disability Discrimination Act – this is a concern for any facility open to the public, but is more likely to involve increased capital costs and consultants’ fees for new ventures in building or converting premises.
  • free admissions – many museums now offer free admission and this can have a detrimental effect on other attractions in the locality, which still need to charge for admission.

4. 2010 List Valuation Approach

4.1 Rental Method

Rents, where available, will provide useful evidence of value, but can often disregard substantial tenant’s improvements, necessitating considerable adjustment. Any analysis of such rents will, therefore, need to be treated with caution.

If possible, the adjusted rent should be tested against a receipts and expenditure valuation, and the resultant valuation expressed in terms of a percentage of gross receipts to facilitate comparison with the assessments of similar hereditaments.

4.2 Accounts Information

When available it is essential that the accounts information is provided for at least three years prior to the Antecedent Valuation Date. This will then give a comprehensive guide as to past trading achievements, identify any trend and enable the fair maintainable trade to be estimated. The rental bid of the hypothetical tenant at the AVD can then be derived and will take into account likely future levels of receipts and expenditure.

The tenant’s rental bid, and hence the quantum of the tenant’s share, will be affected by the type of hereditament, the degree of profit foreseen in the coming year, the likelihood of profits rising or falling, the degree to which they are likely to rise or fall and the time period before they do.

In certain cases, a full receipts and expenditure valuation may produce a NIL result or a very low figure, which manifestly cannot reflect the letting value of the attraction. In such an instance, for the very best reason that the answer produced cannot be right, the full receipts and expenditure valuation might properly be rejected in favour of an approach based upon a percentage of gross receipts, with the bid deriving from comparable types of property. Particularly, an increasing number of the lower value leisure attractions are hobby or second income based. In the case of a hobby interest, the motivation of the operator is not necessarily to be commercially viable, but to share their personal interest with a wider public and to mitigate the costs and at least in part help fund their hobby.

Particular care should be taken when considering trade for years ending 31 March 2008 and 2009. The year to 31 March 2008 will include two Easter trading periods, whereas to 31 March 2009 there will be no Easter period. A further twist is that in some parts of the country the main school “Easter” holidays were in April 2008 not over Easter, but the schools of course, were not open for the Easter weekend itself. Consideration will need to be given to any apparent abnormal income patterns over the two years.

4.3 Comparative Approach

In the absence of rental or full accounts information, tourist and visitor attractions should be valued on the comparative approach, by reference to a percentage of Fair Maintainable Trade, net of VAT. With concession income either grossed up to reflect the concessionaire’s operating costs, then added to the main turnover and a single percentage applied to the whole, or valued separately in the range of 25% - 50%, with the resultant figure added to that attributed to the main property, to produce the overall RV.

The possibility of a high repair and maintenance liability may have a significant effect on value, and accordingly the percentage of gross receipts adopted. Regard should be had to the Rating (Valuation) Act 1999 (see RM : section 3 part 6).

Analysis of the available evidence indicates that bid ranges in each class of property have changed very little from those adopted for Reval 2005, although there may be significant changes to individual properties. The RPI from AVD 2003 to 2008 shows an increase of some 17.8%, which would imply that an attraction will need to have increased receipts by a similar percentage to have “stood still” in terms of profitability. In fact, bearing in mind the increased cost possibilities discussed above, for many properties the turnover will need to have increased in excess of this RPI average for profitability (and rental bid) to have remained the same. This needs to be borne in mind by valuers when considering the percentage to be applied to gross receipts for 2010. If gross turnover has increased, unless profitability has also increased, it is unlikely to be appropriate to apply the same percentage to gross receipts as for 2005.

As a generality, the following percentage ranges should apply:-

Low profitability and/or low trading 4 - 7% Typically this range will apply to the higher fixed cost enterprises (such as animal or bird based attractions) and those with high operating costs (such as Heritage Railways). It will include the poorer trading farm parks and generally those sites where there are high fixed costs to actual income. Particularly, it will apply to those hobby and second income enterprises that are not commercially viable – i.e. where a full receipts and expenditure valuation would show only a small or nil divisible balance.
Average profitability 6.5 – 8.5% This range will inevitably cover the majority of properties across a wide range of classes – including the better and poorer examples of classes that might more typically be in the ranges shown above and below. They will all be commercially viable trading entities, where the resultant RV can be supported by a full receipts and expenditure valuation.
High profitability / high trading 8 - 11% Typically this range will apply to the highest profitability properties – commonly amusement and fun parks and other modern "high tech" attractions, together with those that have comparatively low fixed costs and risks.
Concessions
Concession income 25 - 50% This will be at the higher end where receipts involve the landlord in minimal expense, and at the lower end where the rateable occupier is responsible for all repairing liabilities, provision of services or significant non-rateable items. The resultant figure should then be added to the rateable value calculated on the receipts and expenditure basis for the main part of the hereditament.

In order to more easily compare like with like the valuation should typically be expressed:

Gross receipts (excluding concessions) £1m @ 10% = £100,000
Concession income £100,000 @ 50% = £50,000
RV £150,000

Care should be taken in rigidly applying a percentage bid to any class of property – e.g. valuing all bird gardens @ 5%. Tourist and visitor attractions have largely fixed costs and once the “break even” point has been reached profitability will increase significantly, over even marginal increases in turnover.

There will be occasions where the bid will fall outside the ranges suggested above:-

  • Very low profitability/turnover properties - it is recommended that no lower than 3.5% be adopted for valuation purposes unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Properties where the operator is providing very little in the way of facilities or infrastructure, and having low maintenance costs e.g. charging for access to a scenic viewing platform. Here a significantly higher percentage than indicated in the above scale may be appropriate.

Before adopting a bid outside the norm range valuers should consult with their Group Leisure Valuation Specialist or SRU Team Leader.

Where these more unusual properties are identified more information should be sought to cross check the valuation, possibly to the extent of seeking audited accounts and undertaking a full receipts and expenditure valuation.

5. Developing issues

There has been a growth in specialist and niche leisure attractions, which do not fall easily into any existing comparable trading styles, for example the Go Ape chain of woodland adventure sites. In the early days of trading it will be difficult to judge which enterprises will be successful, or even survive, and there will be issues of ensuring comparability as a chain emerges with sites spread across the country. Often these are farm diversifications or are located within forests or parks. Problem areas experienced to date have highlighted that particular care needs to be exercised in considering whether a separate assessment is appropriate; whether the use is too transitory and/or whether any form of exemption applies. Short term uses such as Maize mazes; concerts; shows and events require careful consideration of the hereditament, continuance of use and the rateable occupier.

There is a continuing trend to farm diversifications. Such enterprises have always been popular in the tourist areas but, given the financial pressures on agriculture, are increasingly being adopted throughout the country. Care must be taken in identifying the hereditament and any other non-domestic uses within it, e.g. self catering, bed and breakfast, farm shop. Even where the accounts include all activities including farming it is usually easy to identify the income streams of the rateable parts. Expenditure is often difficult to quantify, particularly where the commercial viability of the rateable non-farming enterprises is dependent on the existence of the exempt farming enterprise and the ability to share staff, equipment, land etc. (See Rating Manual Section 6 - Part 3 - Section 385 Farm diversifications)

Group Leisure Valuation Specialists and/or the SRU should be consulted where any queries or doubts arise.

6. IT Support

The development a new facility on the Non Bulk Server (NBS) should enable input of factual data to achieve valuations that follow the recommended approach for all types of leisure attractions. All valuations should be entered onto the NBS under the relevant Scat Code.

Practice note 1: 2005: Leisure attractions

1. Co-ordination

Tourist and Visitor Attractions as a class are split between Groups and Specialist Rating Units, with SRUs dealing with those over £25,000 RV. Responsibility for effective co-ordination lies with SRUs. For more information see Rating Manual section 6: part 1.

Special Category Code 284 should be used. As a split class the appropriate suffix letter should be either G or S.

2. Scope of Practice Note

The terms “Tourist Attraction” or “Visitor Attraction” can be applied to a wide variety of properties (see part 2 of main section). This Practice Note is intended to cover the following classes:

Tourist Attractions Scat Code 284 SRUs deal with those where RV exceeds £25,000
Model Villages Scat Code 284 (2000 List Scat Code 188) SRUs deal with those where RV exceeds £25,000
Amusement Parks Scat Code 012 SRUs deal with those where RV exceeds £25,000 (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 70](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-70-amusement-parks-and-theme-parks))
Theme Parks Scat Code 280 All dealt with by SRU (See also [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 70](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-70-amusement-parks-and-theme-parks))

Specific guidance on associated classes is given in the relevant Rating Manual Section, for example:

Aquaria Scat Code 403 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 75](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-75-aquaria)
Heritage Railways Scat Code 128 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 477](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-477-heritage-railways)
Museums Scat Code 196 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 715](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-715-museums-and-art-galleries)
Pleasure Piers Scat Code 213 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 790](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-790-pleasure-piers)
Zoos & Safari Parks Scat Code 304 [Rating Manual section 6: part 3 - section 1130](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-1130-zoos-and-safari-parks)

3. Background

This part of the Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Part 3 of the main section.

3.1 State of the Industry

The leisure sector continues to evolve with the following factors still providing the main driving force for change:

  • long stay holidays within the UK continue to be in relative decline, with increasing reliance on the short break visitor.
  • the increasing sophistication of the visitor, in terms of their demand for more interesting/higher tech/interactive attractions. This is reflected in the continuing decline of the more traditional “stand and look” attractions such as show caves and model villages.
  • As an example of this developing “sophistication” it is noticeable that many local authority and traditional “museum” style operations are now presenting their material and tempting the visitor with greatly enhanced styles of presentation and display.
  • the growth of specialist holidays and short breaks e.g. following the opening of the Eden Project in Cornwall many operators are now offering specialist tours to visit gardens throughout Cornwall, with a visit to the Eden Project being the core attraction. It should be noted that whilst a major attraction like the Eden Project will bring many new visitors into the area, not all tourist attractions locally will necessarily benefit, for example the visitors to the Eden Project are probably unlikely to use the local pitch and putt golf course.

3.2 Additional Factors

There are a number of additional factors that have arisen between AVD 1998 and 2003, which should be taken into account when determining the correct percentage bid for Revaluation 2005:

  • the minimum wage – many tourist attractions employ casual labour, students etc. and thus their wage costs have risen significantly with the advent of the minimum wage.
  • health and safety/insurance – all sites open to the public are likely to have increased costs arising out of the increasingly stringent Health and Safety requirements and the steep rise that has taken place in insurance premiums. Those more potentially “dangerous” sites involving machinery and working parks e.g. theme parks, amusement parks etc. are clearly likely to have suffered more in this respect than a more “sedate” style of tourist attraction.
  • Disability Discrimination Act – this is certainly a concern for any facility open to the public, but is more likely to involve capital costs on providing access ramps etc. than it is on staffing or other operational costs.
  • free admissions – many museums etc. now offer free admission and this may well have had a detrimental effect on other attractions in the locality, which continue to charge for admission.

4. 2005 List Valuation Approach

4.1 Rental Method

Rents, where available, after adjustment for tenant’s improvements should be tested against a receipts and expenditure valuation, and the resultant valuation expressed in terms of a percentage of gross receipts to facilitate comparison with the assessments of similar hereditaments.

4.2 Accounts Information

When available it is essential that the accounts information is provided for at least three years prior to the Antecedent Valuation Date. This will then give a comprehensive guide as to past trading achievements, identify any trend and enable the fair maintainable receipts to be estimated. The rental bid of the hypothetical tenant at the AVD can then be derived and will take into account likely future levels of receipts and expenditure. When adopting this approach, it is important to be aware of the possible effect of the incidence of foot and mouth disease (FMD) on accounts for 2001. Attractions in FMD affected rural areas may have suffered decreased admissions, and potentially increased costs, during this period. Conversely, many visitor attractions in coastal resorts experienced increased visitor numbers in 2001.

The tenant’s rental bid, and hence the quantum of the tenant’s share, will be affected by the type of hereditament, the degree of profit foreseen in the coming year, the likelihood of profits rising or falling, the degree to which they are likely to rise or fall and the time period before they do.

4.3 Comparative Approach

In the absence of rental or full accounts information, tourist and visitor attractions should be valued on the comparative approach, by reference to a percentage of gross receipts, net of VAT. With concession income either grossed up to reflect the concessionaire’s operating costs, then added to the main turnover and a single percentage applied to the whole, or valued separately in the range of 25% - 50%, with the resultant figure added to that attributed to the main property, to produce the overall RV.

The possibility of a high repair and maintenance liability may have a significant effect on value, and accordingly the percentage of gross receipts adopted. Regard should be had to the Rating (Valuation) Act 1999

Analysis of the available evidence indicates that bid ranges will have changed very little from those adopted for Reval 2000. The RPI from 1998 to 2003 shows an increase of some 11.5%, which would imply that an attraction will need to have increased receipts by a similar percentage to have “stood still”. In fact, bearing in mind the increased cost possibilities discussed above, for many properties the turnover will need to have increased in excess of this RPI average for profitability (and rental bid) to have remained the same. This needs to be borne in mind by valuers when considering the percentage to be applied to gross receipts for 2005. If gross turnover has increased, unless profitability has also increased, it is unlikely to be appropriate to apply the same percentage to gross receipts as for 2000.

As a generality, the following percentage ranges should apply:-

Named Classes
Model Villages 9 - 15%

#####Other Classes

Low profitability and/or low trading 4 - 7% e.g. bird gardens, animal parks, poorer farm parks
Average trading properties 7 - 9% the better trading of some of the above and the poorer examples of the following
High profitability / high trading 8 - 11% e.g. amusement and fun parks - and other modern "high tech" attractions
Concessions
Concession income 25 - 50% if valuing separately, a decision within this range should be based at the higher end where the income is effectively all profit with no deductions, dropping towards the lower end where the landlord is providing services e.g. electricity or other costs and where a concession e.g. a cafeteria has all the non rateable items provided by the landlord.

Care should be taken in rigidly applying a percentage bid to any class of property – e.g. valuing all bird gardens @ 5%. Tourist and visitor attractions have relatively fixed costs and once the “break even” point has been reached profitability will increase significantly, over even marginal increases in turnover. In order to more easily compare like with like the valuation should typically be expressed:-

Gross receipts (excluding concessions) £1m @ 10% = £100,000
Concession income £100,000 @ 50% = £50,000
RV £150,000

There will be occasions where the bid will fall outside the ranges suggested above:-

  • Very low profitability/turnover properties, although it is recommended that no lower than 3.5% be adopted for valuation purposes unless in exceptional circumstances.

  • Properties where the operator is providing very little in the way of facilities or infrastructure, and has low maintenance costs e.g. charging for access to a scenic viewing platform. Here a significantly higher percentage than indicated in the above scale should be adopted.

Where these more unusual properties are identified more information should be sought to cross check the valuation, possibly to the extent of seeking audited accounts and undertaking a full receipts and expenditure valuation.