Fine Gael Kerry Senator and Seanad Chief Whip, Paul Coghlan, has today (Thursday) welcomed the acceptance of the Valuation (Amendment) Bill 2013 by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD. The Bill, which was put forward by Senator Coghlan and his colleagues Senators Maurice Cummins and Michael Comiskey, was supported unanimously by the Seanad.
“This Bill attempts to address the inequality that currently exists between local town centres and out-of-town retail parks. In recent years, town centres have been hit with the triple whammy of reduced consumer spending, the advent of local authority imposed street parking charges and new out of town retailers offering a large amount of free car parking spaces.
“This situation is putting town centres under serious pressure. If it is left unchecked I believe it will contribute to social and economic erosion and will hasten urban decay. The existence of free parking in out of town retail outlets draws customers away from town centres, where they would have to pay parking charges. This means local businesses suffer, and the local authority misses out on parking revenues.
“Under the current system, commercial rates are not charged on the provision of out of town retail car parks, and therefore there is no incentive for major retailers to charge for these spaces. This Bill seeks to address this anomaly by applying a rate on the retailer based on the revenue that would be generated by the space if the same parking charges in any adjacent urban area applied.
“This approach will provide extra revenue for local authorities and it will encourage the operators of large retail centres to make a contribution to the local economy. The Bill also provides that where a property is a shop or retail outlet, the parking spaces for customers should be taken into account in assessing the rateable valuation.
“This Bill is a proportionate and necessary measure which will address an inequity in the current legal position and introduce certainty to an area that is currently confusing and unclear. I believe local authorities will welcome the additional revenue generated by the measure, which should be used to improve town centres. I am very pleased that this Bill has received the support of both the Minister and the Seanad.”