Public Access alert,

Public Access is currently down for maintenance, please check back later.

Rural Rate Relief Scheme

Introduction

From 1st April 1998 Government legislation provides for the only Post Office or the only General Store in a Rural Settlement with a population not exceeding 3,000 to be awarded 50% Mandatory Relief and the Council can consider Discretionary Relief in respect of the remaining 50%. In addition, the Council can grant up to 100% Discretionary Relief to any small rural business which is situated in a qualifying Rural Settlement and which is important to the local community. From 5th April 2001 50% Mandatory Relief was extended to include the only Public House and the only Petrol Filling Station in a qualifying Rural Settlement. From 15th August 2001 50% Mandatory Relief was extended to include village food shops in a qualifying Rural Settlement.

How is Rural Rate Relief granted?

To be considered for Mandatory Relief and/or Discretionary Relief, an application form should be completed and returned. Mandatory Relief will normally be awarded each year whilst the qualifying criteria are met. Discretionary Relief will normally be granted as a percentage of the rates payable for a specific period, although an applicant for Discretionary Relief may re-apply in subsequent periods.

What are the general qualifying criteria?

The applicant must:

  • Be liable to pay National Non-Domestic Rates to Gravesham Borough Council,
  • The Rate-able Value of the property at the beginning of the rating year concerned must not exceed a specified amount, and (except where the application relates to former agricultural premises)
  • The business must be located in a qualifying Rural Settlement.

A qualifying Rural Settlement must have a population not exceeding 3,000 and will usually be a village or hamlet within a 'rural area' determined by the Secretary of State for the Environment. So far as Gravesham is concerned the rural areas comprise all five of the parishes within the Borough and the rural settlements have been defined as:

Rural Settlements Around Gravesham
Rural Area (Parish) Rural Settlements

Cobham

Cobham Village

 

Sole Street

Luddesdown

Henly Street

 

Luddesdown

Shorne

Lower Shorne

 

Shorne

 

Shorne Ridgeway

Higham

Church Street

 

Dillywood Lane

 

Higham Upshire

 

Lower Higham

 

Three Crutches

Meopham

Culverstone Green

 

Harvel

 

Hook Green

 

Meopham Green

 

Vigo Village

This list of rural settlements is reviewed annually and is available for public inspection and comment for three months before the commencement of each financial year.

What are the qualifying criteria for Mandatory Relief?

For a Post Office or General Store to be entitled to 50% Mandatory Relief, all the following criteria must be met :

  • The rateable value of the property must not exceed £8,500,
  • The property must be used as a Post Office or a General Store (see below for definition), or both
  • The property must be the only Post Office or the only General Store in the Rural Settlement.

For a Public House or Petrol Filling Station to be entitled to 50% Mandatory Relief, all the following criteria must be met:

  • The Rateable Value of the property must not exceed £12,500.
  • The property must be used as a Public House (see below for definition) or a Petrol Filling Station (see below for definition)
  • The property must be the only Public House or the only Petrol Filling Station in the Rural Settlement.

For a village food shop to be entitled to 50% Mandatory Relief, all the following criteria must be met:

  • The Rateable Value of the property must not exceed £8,500.
  • The property must be used as a shop selling mainly food (see below for definition).

What is the definition of a General Store?

For the purposes of Rural Rate Relief, "General Store" means a business or trade which wholly or mainly sells by retail both food (other than confectionery) for human consumption and general household goods. Where there are two or more General Stores within the same Rural Settlement, none can qualify for Mandatory Relief on that basis, although if one of them functions as a Post Office or a Food Shop relief may be claimed independently on that ground. However, both a General Store and a Post Office in the same Rural Settlement will qualify for Mandatory Relief, provided that they both meet the criteria. Although a General Store or a Post Office may not meet the criteria for Mandatory Relief, they may still be eligible to apply for Discretionary Relief.

What is the definition of a Public House?

For the purposes of Rural Rate Relief, "Public House" means any premises as defined in the Licensing Act 2003 which has a premises licence authorising sale by retail of alcohol for consumption on the premises. In addition the premises must be used principally for retail sales of alcohol to members of the public for consumption on the premises, and sales must not be subject to the condition that buyers reside at or consume food on the premises.

What is the definition of a Petrol Filling Station?

For the purposes of Rural Rate Relief, "Petrol Filling Station" means premises where petrol or other automotive fuels are sold retail to the general public for fueling motor vehicles intended or adapted for use on roads.

What is the definition of a Food Shop?

For the purpose of Rural Rate Relief, "Food Shop" means a trade or business consisting wholly or mainly of the sale by retail of food for human consumption (excluding confectionery and catering – in this context catering means any supply of food for consumption on the premises on which it is supplied and any supply of hot food for consumption off the premises). Thus, this definition may also include shops which sell mainly household foods and which may partly also sell hot take away food or food consumed on the premises. But shops whose main business is a restaurant, tea room, take-away, or confectionery sales are not Food Shops and so will not qualify for Mandatory Relief.

What are the qualifying criteria for Discretionary Relief?

The Council may grant up to 50% Discretionary Relief in respect of any property which qualifies for 50% Mandatory Relief and the Council may also grant up to 100% Discretionary Relief to any rural business provided that all of the following criteria are met:-

  • The property is located in a qualifying Rural Settlement.
  • The Rateable Value of the property does not exceed £16,500 at the beginning of the rating year concerned.
  • The property is occupied by a business that benefits the local community.
  • It is reasonable for the Council to grant relief having regard to the interests of persons liable to pay the Council Tax set by it.

Discretionary Relief is not limited to any particular type of business. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that their business is important to the maintenance of village life.

What are the application requirements?

Occupiers of post offices, general stores and other non domestic properties who believe that they may be eligible should write to the Revenues Manager at the Civic Centre giving their reasons. A visit to the property by a Council employee may be necessary and a contact telephone number for making an appointment should be provided when writing.

How are applications for Rural Rate Relief determined?

Each application for Mandatory Relief will be considered having regard to the statutory provisions. Each application for Discretionary Relief will be considered on its merits in accordance with Government guidelines and the Council's approved scheme.

If you wish to discuss Rural Rate Relief please contact:

Revenues Section, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 3AU
Email: rates@gravesham.gov.uk
Telephone: 01474 33 75 64.

Feedback

Was the information on this page helpful?

Let us know