Coastal Access and Occupiers Liability:
As many of our clubs will already know work is underway on the development of the England Coast Path - a new 2,700 mile National Trail around all of England’s coast. For the first time people will have a right of access around our coast. This includes any land, other than the trail itself, which forms part of the coastal margin and which has public rights of access along the way.
Consideration of the impact of coastal access on the issue of occupiers’ liability, rightly formed part of the process when granting new access rights under Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 ‘CROW Act. Unsurprisingly landowners and occupiers were justifiably concerned that an increase in access to their land should not lead to a consequent rise in the level of liability owed to those accessing it, sensibly the Government agreed.
S. 12(1) CROW Act makes it clear that coastal access provisions will not increase liability for occupiers:
The operation of section 2(1) in relation to any access land does not increase the liability, under any enactment not contained in this Act or under any rule of law, of a person interested in the access land or any adjoining land in respect of the state of the land or of things done or omitted to be done on the land.
As a result of this, significant amendments to the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 and 1984 were made to protect occupiers. We have therefore updated our Guidance on Occupiers Liability to reflect the amendments to the 1984 and the 1957 Acts.
We understand that HMRC has issued de-registration notices to a number of clubs. Notices have been issued to clubs that applied for de-registration within the amnesty period, however, importantly clubs which did NOT apply to de-register may have also been issued with de-registration notices.
If you are such a club we would invite you to contact Mandy Peters in the Legal Department to discuss your position. You may be entitled to appeal your de-registration and we may be able to assist you.
We would also ask clubs that did in fact request de-registration and have received a de-registration Notice from HMRC to let us know in order that we may update our database appropriately.
Revaluation of Rateable Values
Details of the new revaluation of rateable values were published on 30th September and you can access them at the Valuation Office Agency website. Although there will be some form of transitional relief scheme that will phase in changes in liability, 2017 rateable values will form the basis of rate bills until at least 2022.
Ability to pay will be a major opportunity for clubs to have their assessments reviewed.
There are three tests which clubs can use to gauge if their new rateable value is too high:
1.Will the size of the new rate bill cause the club any financial hardship?
2.Is the new rateable value equal or greater than any surplus of ordinary income over ordinary expenditure?
3.Is the new rateable value more than 20% of turnover?
It is essential to check on the Valuation Office Agency website what your new rates are as it may have a huge impact for your club.
If your club is facing any of these issues please contact email@example.com