Stewart Associates (Shrewsbury) Ltd
Emstrey House (North), Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6LG.

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19 March 2020

Rates Relief - Businesses in hospitality and retail

Our email yesterday commented that it was not clear which businesses would be included within the rate relief. The text copied below is from guidance provided to the Local Authorities which removes uncertainty for some of you.

Which properties will benefit from relief?

10. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
b. for assembly and leisure; or
c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

11. We consider shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues to mean:
− Shops (such as: florists, bakers, butchers, grocers, greengrocers, jewellers, stationers, off licences, chemists, newsagents, hardware stores, supermarkets, etc)
− Charity shops
− Opticians
− Post offices
− Furnishing shops/ display rooms (such as: carpet shops, double glazing, garage doors)
− Car/caravan show rooms
− Second-hand car lots
− Markets
− Petrol stations
− Garden centres
− Art galleries (where art is for sale/hire)
− Hair and beauty services (such as: hair dressers, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning shops, etc)
− Shoe repairs/key cutting
− Travel agents
− Ticket offices e.g. for theatre
− Dry cleaners
− Launderettes
− PC/TV/domestic appliance repair
− Funeral directors
− Photo processing
− Tool hire
− Car hire
− Restaurants
− Takeaways
− Sandwich shops
− Coffee shops
− Pubs
− Bars
− Cinemas
− live music venues - wholly or mainly used for the performance of live music for the purpose of entertaining an audience.

Hereditaments cannot be considered a live music venue for the purpose of business rates relief where a venue is wholly or mainly used as a nightclub or a theatre, for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).

− Hereditaments can be a live music venue even if used for other activities, but only if those other activities
(i) are merely ancillary or incidental to the performance of live music (e.g. the sale/supply of alcohol to audience members) or
(ii) do not affect the fact that the primary activity for the premises is the performance of live music (e.g. because those other activities are insufficiently regular or frequent, such as a polling station or a fortnightly community event).

− There may be circumstances in which it is difficult to tell whether an activity is a performance of live music or, instead, the playing of recorded music. Although we would expect this would be clear in most circumstances, guidance on this may be found in Chapter 16 of the statutory guidance issued in April 2018 under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003.2

− Sports grounds and clubs
− Museums and art galleries
− Nightclubs
− Sport and leisure facilities
− Stately homes and historic houses
− Theatres
− Tourist attractions
− Gyms
− Public halls
− Clubhouses, clubs and institutions
− Hotels, Guest and Boarding Houses
− Holiday homes
− Caravan parks and sites
14. To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the above qualifying purposes. In a similar way to other reliefs (such as charity relief), this is a test on use rather than occupation. Therefore, hereditaments which are occupied but not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for the relief. For the avoidance of doubt, hereditaments which have closed temporarily due to the government's advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.


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