Gerald Eve secures double relief for Morrisons after the floods
Established and headquartered in Bradford, Morrisons is the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain, with more than 500 stores and over 100 Morrisons M local stores (Q4 2015).
They came to Gerald Eve in 2012, asking that we take over their business rate appeals work from GL Hearn on their large-format portfolios in three regions – eastern England, Wales and western England, and London and the south-east – and their convenience store division on a nationwide basis. We are currently responsible for around half the entire Morrisons estate, with a total current rateable value in the order of £300m.
When the store at Marine Point in Brighton was flooded on 5 December 2013, Morrisons was granted Flood Relief – a three-month ‘holiday’ from paying business rates introduced to help affected businesses get through the floods of 2013/14. What was unclear was whether Flood Relief was being classed as EU State Aid, which would prevent Morrisons from also receiving retail relief for its smaller stores (RV up to £50,000).
The Department for Communities and Local Government were not able to give a definitive answer to the question. We sought counsel’s opinion on Morrisons’ behalf. It was confirmed that Flood Relief was not classed as EU State Aid; Morrisons would be eligible to apply for retail relief of up to €200,000. We prepared and submitted the relevant application’s for Morrisons, and have secured the majority of this entitlement.