HC Deb 23 April 2004 vol 420 c694W
Mr. Gummer

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the valuation of public lavatories is affected by(a) usage and (b) takings. [165936]

Mr. Raynsford

The valuation for rating of public conveniences is normally reached taking account of the cost of construction and making allowance for obsolescence, expense of upkeep and location.

(a) The number of persons using a public lavatory will depend on its location. A town centre convenience is likely to have greater usage than one in a remote location. In some coastal resorts, public lavatories may be used relatively intensively during the summer but closed altogether in the winter. The valuation of a public convenience is unaffected by usage. It is valued by reference to the cost which the occupier would otherwise incur if it had to construct an alternative facility. The cost of providing a facility which is intensively used is no greater than that of providing a facility which is less used, or used only seasonally. Exceptionally, instances have arisen where conveniences have been permanently closed at or before the relevant valuation date, and are thus not used at all in such cases the Valuation Office Agency's Rating Manual recommends that no value is assessed.

The VOA recognises that in some instances local authorities may be operating public conveniences where, in present circumstances, the cost of provision would not be justified. In such cases, current capital cost may be a doubtful indication of value. The VOA has addressed this by applying an age-related scale of obsolescence allowance, which is more generous than applied to other classes of property valued by reference to cost.

(b) Since public conveniences are not operated for commercial profit, takings are irrelevant to valuation, and rateable value is unaffected by the absence, or presence/amount of revenue.

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