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

Section 925: regional out of town shopping centres and city centre shopping malls

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

1. Scope

1.1 This instruction applies to shops within Regional Out of Town Shopping Centres and Shopping Malls in city centres having a total gross internal area (GIA) of less than 1,850m². For shops with a total GIA in excess of 1,850m² see Rating Manual Section 6 - Part 3 - Section 550 : Large Shops. Regional Out of Town Shopping Centres are generally characterised by excellent transport links, extensive, often free car parking and a substantial retail and leisure offer.

1.2 Regional Out of Town Shopping Centres for class co-ordination purposes are shown at Appendix 1 of the Practice Note.

2. List Description & Special Category Code.

Bulk Class: Shop
List Descriptions: Shop and Premises; Bank and Premises; Betting Shop and Premises; Hairdressing Salon and Premises; Kiosk and Premises; Kiosk.
Primary Description: CS
SCAT CODE 249 (Shop and Premises) 021 (Bank and Premises) 024 (Betting shops and Premises) 417 (Hairdressing Salon and Premises) 243 (Kiosk and Premises and Kiosk)
Suffix G (Generalist)

3. Responsible Teams

3.1 Generalist caseworkers are responsible for the survey and valuation of this class.

3.2 It is anticipated that each Unit will have a named individual responsible for the class. More than one named individual is recommended for succession planning.

3.3 It is also recommended that each Unit should allocate a named co-ordinator, or Lead Valuer, to act as a point of contact within the Unit. This Lead Valuer will be responsible for assisting in the delivery of the Unit’s valuation scheme and also for liaising on value and technical issues with other Lead Valuers across adjoining Units. The Lead Valuer will be responsible for ensuring compliance with this section.

4. Co-ordination

4.1 The Regional Shopping Centre Class Co-ordination Team (CCT) has overall responsibility for the co-ordination of this class. The team are responsible for the approach to and the accuracy and consistency of Regional Shopping Centre valuations.

4.2 The Practice Note describes the valuation basis for revaluation and the National Specialist Unit (NSU) will provide advice as necessary during the life of the rating lists.

4.3 Caseworkers have a responsibility to:

  • follow the advice given at all times - Practice Notes are mandatory

  • not depart from the guidance given on appeals or maintenance work, without approval from the co-ordination team

There is no specific legal framework for this class.

6. Survey Requirements

6.1 Inspections should be carried out in accordance with the Valuation Office Agency Code of Practice. Arrangements for inspecting properties (Non-Domestic Rating).

6.2 Shops in Shopping Centres should be measured to Net Internal Area (NIA) for rating purposes in accordance with the RICS Code of Measuring Practice 6th edition or its replacement. Net Internal Area (NIA) - Measurement definitions - isurv.

6.3 Consistency of approach is essential and surveys must be carried out in accordance with the guidance in Rating manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 920 : Shops and Shopping Centres

6.4 Inspection

An inspection checklist is appended to Appendix 2 and should be completed for all new properties, updated for maintenance work and stored in the property folder of the Electronic Document Records Management (EDRM) system.

7. Survey Capture

The Survey Template can be found in EDRM. This will need to be completed following inspection.

8. Valuation Approach

8.1 Background

In order to maximise the return of the individual retailers it is in the Landlord’s interest to maintain tight control over tenant mix and to manage and promote the centre as a whole. This enables the traders to complement rather than compete to the benefit of all.

Shopping Centres have evolved in recent years and the more successful ones provide a considered balance of retail, food and leisure offers. Temporary ‘pop up’ shops within retail units, often in situ for a short period, typically in the run up to Christmas and short term lets of between 6 months and 2 years are now a feature in Shopping Centres. These seek to address void issues in addition to enhancing the retail offer.

8.2 Zoning

The depth and the number of zones may vary between centres dependant upon the characteristics of shops and according to how the market lets the units. It is recommended to apply 6.10 metre zones. See paragraph 4 Rating manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 920 : Shops and Shopping Centres.

8.3 Rental Adjustment and Analysis.

Contracting out of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 may be normal practice. Analysis of the rents should be in accordance with Rating Manual - Section 4: Part 1: Practice Note 1 2010 Rental Adjustment. Careful consideration needs to be taken of inducements and incentives.

8.4 Form VO 6066 should be issued if it is known that there is a turnover rent.

8.5 Many rent reviews under existing leases are subject to upward only rent review provisions. Care will need to be taken when considering their usefulness particularly if they are nil increase on upwards only rent review.

8.6 Temporary Pop-ups & Short Term Lets in retail units.

These are now a feature in most centres, and are often let on turnover only or a reduced rent to cover service charge and other liabilities only. Care must be exercised when a number of these are sited together, perhaps in a side mall with lower footfall. The level of these lettings may not provide the full picture and appropriate measures should be taken to obtain all relevant details.

8.7 Large Shops

Large shops are an integral part of Regional Shopping Centres and the size, quality and draw of these will be dependant upon the extent and quality of the catchment population and demographic profile together with the competition within the catchment area. Proximity within the centre to major anchors can be a factor enhancing rental value on standard units.

8.8 Kiosks and Retail Merchandising Units (RMU’s)

Location within the centre and footfall are the major factors determining value. There is usually sufficient rental evidence and the approach is either a spot figure or on a £/m² basis where devaluation of the evidence results in a consistent ‘tone’. See Rating Manual Section 6 - Part 3 –for further guidance.

8.9 Residual Mall Assessment

The residual mall assessment remains in the control of the landlord and comprises short term, seasonal, temporary stalls and other income generating features such as vending machines; children’s rides, Father Christmas grotto, and similar.

8.10 Double Decker Units

These are units situated on more than one level within the shopping centre, having access from the mall to each level. They are internally connected by means of escalator, stairs, lift or a combination. Such units should be zoned from each level of the Mall. They tend to be prominent units from each level. Careful analysis of the whole deal (including the rent) is required in order to ascertain whether there is any justification for an adjustment arising from zoning from each level.

8.11 Mezzanine Floors

These may be either provided by the landlord or constructed by the tenant. Care must be taken to determine what is included in the demised premises to ensure that the correct floor areas are used in the analysis of the rent.

8.12 Stairs, lifts and escalators

By improving access to an upper floor the tenant is seeking to enable a better and more valuable use of this floor. Care must be taken to ensure that the addition of improved access results in a rateable value that is no less than the rateable value without the improved access.

8.13 Mode and Category of Occupation

The hereditament must be valued vacant and to let for a use within the same mode or category of occupation as the actual use - for example a restaurant must be valued vacant and to let as a restaurant. The measure of value is, therefore, what the market would pay to occupy the hereditament in its existing physical state, and for a use within the same mode or category as the actual use. Rating Manual Section 3: Part 2: Appendix 1.

8.14 Coffee Shops occupying a retail unit

The strategic positioning of coffee shops within the regional shopping centre is designed to increase dwell time and to generate footfall. This results in coffee shops being dotted around the mall. Therefore it may well be that some of these rents are below the levels of typical A1 fashion retailers. Each case will need to be reviewed with reference to individual rents and consideration needs to be given as to whether an overall approach may be more appropriate. Further guidance may be found in Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 875 : Restaurants.

8.15 Open Plan Coffee Shops in the Mall

These comprise a defined seating area exclusive to that particular occupier together with a counter to prepare and sell drinks, reheated food and cakes etc. They are generally sited in the centre of the Mall, usually prominently positioned. Rental evidence indicates the approach should be on an overall £/m² basis.

8.16 Interaction of Large shops with smaller zoned shops.

Shops below 1,850m² are generally zoned. It is possible that zoning may be continued for shops larger than 1,850m², but it is likely that the shop would have other issues such as access, frontage, layout and position. Continuing to zone shops larger than 1,850m² may result in end allowances, specifically quantum increasing to unrealistic levels. Therefore careful consideration needs to be given to the size where an overall rate per m² basis becomes more appropriate. This needs to be reviewed in the light of all the available evidence. The size where an overall approach is used may vary from centre to centre dependant upon the particular circumstances in each case and it may be that shops under 1,850 are valued on an overall basis.

8.17 Air conditioning

Where the unit includes air-conditioning that has been provided by the landlord and included in the demise of the unit, the value is considered to be reflected in the rent. Where air-conditioning is included as a tenant’s improvement it should be valued in accordance with Rating manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 920 : Shops and Shopping Centres : Practice Note 1 : 2010 : Air Conditioning in Shops with the area served by the air-conditioning being captured as an other addition.

8.18 Car Parking

Guidance notes on the rating of retail centre car parks can be found in Rating Manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 200 : Car Parks : Practice Note 1 : 2010.

8.19 Key rents

All hereditaments having key rents need to be inspected.

9. Valuation Support

  • Rating Support Application (RSA)

  • Survaid

  • Class Coordination team for Regional Shopping Centres

  • National Specialist Unit

Appendix 1

Centre Address Unit
Westfield White City Ariel Way, London W12 7GF London
Bluewater Dartford, Kent, DA9 9SS South East
Westfield Stratford Montfichet Road, London E20 1EJ London
Trafford Centre Barton Dock Road, Trafford Park, Manchester M17 8AA North West
Meadowhall Sheffield S9 1EH North East
Metro Centre Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE11 9YG North East
Brent Cross Hendon, London, NW4 3FP London
Merry Hill Level Street, Brierley Hill West Midlands DY5 1SY Central
Cribbs Causeway Bristol, BS34 5DG South West
Lakeside West Thurrock Way, Grays Essex RM20 2ZP East
White Rose Dewsbury Road, Leeds LS11 8LU North East

Practice note: 2017: Regional out of town shopping centres

1. Market Appraisal

1.1 The 2010 Revaluation had an AVD at the peak of the market just prior to the biggest recession of recent times. When the recession commenced retail was one of the worst affected of the property sectors with several retailers having gone into liquidation. Coupled with the rise in internet shopping and interest generated in promotional days such as Black Friday, the impact on Regional Out of Town Shopping Centres in some areas has been severe. This effectively means that for the purposes of the 2017 Revaluation with an AVD of 1st April 2015 there may be rental evidence of limited value, affected by upwards only review provisions, and short term and temporary lets affecting the picture.

1.2 Regional Out of Town Shopping Centres are very different animals to the High Street. They tend to be actively managed and there is a science to their layout, organisation and presentation often requiring incentives to make them work.

1.3 Certain Centres have continued to prosper whereas others have not performed quite as well. The better Centres are continuing to improve their food and leisure offer.

1.4 Two new Regional Shopping Centres have opened in London in recent years, Westfield White City in 2008 and Westfield Stratford in 2011 which was opened in time for the Olympic Games. These have resulted in some competition for existing centres such as Bluewater and Brent Cross. Westfield White City appears to have benefited from substantially increased rents following the first round of rent reviews in 2013. Voids are few and incentives have appeared to have reduced in recent deals. The picture is less clear in Westfield Stratford as the first round of rent reviews is not due until 2016 and there have been a limited number of recent lettings.

1.5 Brent Cross has countered the effect of the Westfield Centres by a refurbishment programme and a planning application has recently been submitted for an extension. Similarly, Bluewater is continuing to improve the product it offers to the shopper. In 2012 it undertook a major refurbishment and extension to the Winter Garden Food Court and now offers a full range of restaurants. Numbers of shoppers are still high and very few units are vacant.

1.6 Lakeside is in direct competition with Bluewater and Westfield Stratford and as a result outline planning consent has been granted for an investment of £180M which will include improved transport links and increase the size of Lakeside by nearly a third incorporating 40 new stores. Improved transportation will be by means of a new bus station linked to Chafford Hundred rail station and a subsidised bus service through the Lakeside Basin. Further plans exist for the development of food and leisure facilities around the existing cinema. Any vacant units are let for short term often community based projects, or short term lets at low rents, consequently, voids are not an issue in the centre. In the current climate lease length tends to be shorter, typically five to ten years, with shops being re-configured to accommodate expansion by existing occupiers.

1.7 In response to the development at Trinity Leeds in the city centre which opened in March 2013, the food court at White Rose has been refurbished and plans to increase the retail offer with additional units and a cinema have been unveiled.

1.8 At Meadowhall the food court kiosk area and upper level restaurants have been refurbished and extended and significant rental growth has occurred. A planned multi-million pound refurbishment of the whole centre is due to take place over a 2-year period from late 2015, which will maintain its position in the shopping centre hierarchy.

1.9 The Metro Centre, which is a relatively old centre in shopping centre terms, opened in 1986 and consequently there is evidence of lease renewals available. The most significant changes at The Metro Centre are the rebranding and refurbishment of the mall on the first floor above The Parade, which has been rebranded as The Platinum Mall. The dining area, known as the Qube is being extended into the part of the centre known as the Mediterranean Village and a number of new occupiers have been pre-signed including TGI Fridays, Chiquito, Coast to Coast and Five Guys.

1.10 Merry Hill, has recently changed hands and is now operated by Intu. As with Lakeside, vacant units are let for short term periods and conventional leases tend to be shorter. A new food court was constructed in 2009, but continues to vary its offer. The Centre is due for a make over, but no firm plans have been detailed as yet.

1.11 Intu are in control of 45% of the Regional Out of Town Centres and Westfield in control of two (18%) high profile London Centres.

2. Changes From The Last Practice Note

There was no Practice Note for the 2010 Revaluation.

3. Ratepayer discussions

3.1 A meeting has been held and general discussions have taken place. There has been no prior agreement.

4. Valuation scheme

4.1 Regional Shopping Centres and Town Centre Malls usually comprise a mixture of retail property that is the subject of separate instruction.

4.2 For advice on the adjustment and analysis of shops see Rating Manual - Section 4 - Part 1 : Practice Note 1 2017 and for advice on the valuation of shops in general see Rating Manual Section 6 - Part 3 – Section 920 : Shops.

4.3 A Shopping Centre is normally anchored by large stores such as John Lewis; Debenhams; Marks and Spencer; Boots; WH Smith and others. For advice on the valuation of this type of retail property see Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 550a : Large Shops and Department Stores and 2017 Practice Note.

4.4 Some Shopping Centres will be anchored by a large food store. For advice on the valuation of Hypermarkets, Superstores and large food stores see Section 6: Part 3: Section 520A: Hypermarkets and Food Based Superstores and Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 520B: Large Food Stores.

4.5 Centre Managers are increasing their food and leisure offer in order to attract customers to the Centre. For advice on the valuation of Food Courts see Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 920: Food Courts and 2017 Practice Note. For advice on the valuation of restaurants dispersed within the Shopping Centre see Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 875: Restaurants and 2017 Practice Note.

4.6 In most Regional Shopping Centres and Town/ City Centre Malls there will be permanent kiosks or Retail Merchandising Units (RMUs) and an assessment in respect of the Residual Mall. For guidance on the valuation of these hereditaments see Rating Manual Section 6: Part 3: Section 921.

4.7 Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are often found in Regional Shopping Centres. For advice see Rating Manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 1120: Sites of Automatic Machines.

4.8 For the unit of assessment and the valuation approach in respect of car parking see Rating manual - Section 6: Part 3: Section 200 : Car Parks.