It was with mixed feelings and some nostalgia that we acted for Orchard Homes, in helping with their Business Rates liability on the old Rhino Nightclub in Southampton. This had been a fond and regular nightspot for 1/3 of Maughan Mitchell in the early 1990s!

The nightclub closed in 2014 and has been in a state of decay over recent years. However, as is usual, the building was subject to Empty Rates, an obvious unwanted problem for our client Orchard Homes, following their purchase of the building in early 2020.

Following instructions, we advised Orchard regarding their redevelopment of the site, in terms of the Business Rates implications. This included ‘our’ first visit into the building for over 20 years! The building was found to be in a sad state, but the visit still produced some fond memories.

Orchard, as an experienced developer, had the foresight to involve us early on. This enabled us to help them take the necessary action, leading to an early deletion of the existing two Rating Assessments. Following the lodging of Rates Appeals, to the Valuation Office, we successfully argued the building was ‘Incapable of Beneficial Occupation’ and undergoing significant works to change it from its original state. During negotiations, the Valuation Office accepted our position and agreed deletions, from the start of strip out works.

Savings to the client were in excess of £30,000, a significant sum in the scheme of the development.

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