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APPELLANT REBUTTAL DOCUMENT

APPELLANT: Clee Hill Plant Ltd


ADDRESS: Clee Hill Plant Ltd, Philpotts Yard, Gravel Road, Sutton At Hone, Dartford, DA4
9HQ

HEARING DATE: 22/03/2017


HEARING VENUE: 120 Leman Street, London, E1 8EU

APPEAL NUMBER: 221526291814/537N10/151


CVS REFERENCE: APP111880
SURVEYOR: Saul Campbell

VOAs comments have been outlined in black with


appellants rebuttal comments outlined in red.
1. Preliminary matters

1) The appellant's representative has failed to provide "a single index page" in their
statement of case, which is contrary to para 3(d).
This has been corrected in the reformatted submission for the panels benefit at the hearing.
If the Valuation Tribunal or Valuation Office have any objections to this I imagine this will be
dealt with as a preliminary matter and the SoC will be purely relied upon. I do apologise for
this technicality but have explained this comes as a consequence of this being the first
appeal dealt with by myself as part of this pilot scheme. All other fundamental directions
have been adhered to with regards to progressing the appeal and outlining contentions in
an effort to arrive at the correct rateable value which I believe is the purpose of the pilot
scheme.

2) The appellant's representative has failed to provide any "relevant documents and other
evidence" to include site plans, floor plans, survey data and/or photographs and the like to
support the revised floor areas, relativities and land areas that are referred to in their
proposed valuation, which is contrary to para 3(c).
On page 13 of their statement of case, the appellant's representative states....."Location
plans and photographs of the appeal property and comparables will be put before the panel
at the hearing".
Also on page 13 of their statement of case, the appellant's representative states...."More
images will be presented at the hearing to illustrate the above".
The above statements do not comply with paras 3(a) and 3(b) of the Directions.
This follows on from the previous point. I am happy for site plans and floor plans to be
referred to from the VOAs submission. I will not introduce anything new in this regard.
However, images will be provided within this document as a rebuttal to points raised by the
VOA.

3) The appellant's representative has failed to provide any "relevant documents and other
evidence" to include rental and/or comparable evidence and the like to support the 5%
access end allowance that has been applied to their proposed valuation, which is contrary to
para 3(c).
Evidence was unavailable to provide from the public domain. However, the respondent has
failed to adhere to the directions as stated below which would have allowed the appellant
to analyse and consider the point.

Regulation 17(3) evidence1


2. No later than eight weeks before the date of the hearing, the respondent must serve on
the appellant a copy of any Regulation 17(3) evidence on which the respondent relies.

No regulation 17 evidence was provided by the respondent despite initial correspondence


querying the respective tone and therefore Oldschool & Oldschool v Coll (VO) (1995)
RA/312/1994 must be questioned. The burden of proof and the duty of the valuation officer
has failed to shed light on the current and revised valuations with regard to the /m2
adopted. The subject premises is understood to be owner occupied / held freehold as such
we do not have the benefit of a passing rent to either analyse and/or comment upon does
not suffice.

4) The appellant's representative has failed to explain the relevance of and/or causal link
between the 37 comparable assessments that are referred to in their statement of case and
the subject premises, which is contrary to para 3(a).
On page 2 of their statement of case, the appellant's representative states....."37
comparable
properties were referred to in my email to the VOA on 03/01/2017 which will be referred to
in
more detail at the hearing".
The above statement does not comply with paras 3(b) and 3(c) of the Directions.
The above is untrue. Directions 3(b) and 3(c) does not explicitly request for a full dossier of
why the expert evidence referred to has been included but simply for expert evidence to be
served on the respondent.
37 comparables were referred to within the original submission as expert evidence. As per
any normal tribunal, these will be elaborated on for the panels benefit. Given the
respondents self-proclaimed experience in this field it would be reasonable to suggest why
these comparables would be included when the vast majority of these are valued at a lesser
base price than the subject premises while those valued higher than the subject
hereditament are either of a superior standard, location or smaller footprint overall. This is
in line with the comments made within the original submission.
The above represents a series of failures, on the part of the appellant's representative, to
comply with Direction 3 of the VTE's revised Standard Directions and I would therefore
respectfully ask for the case to be dismissed.

Unfortunately the above statement rings true of the respondents approach to discussions to
date. Instead of dismissing the appeal on a the basis of a submission not including an index
and/or a site plan I would ask for the reasons for this to be considered and refer to the
Oldschool & Oldschool v Coll (VO) (1995) RA/312/1994 case law which states;

the proper function of a person appointed by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to act as
Valuation Officer is to provide honest, comprehensive and impartial evidence to assist the
Tribunal. It is not to undermine the appellants case without regard to such overriding
obligation. The interest of the Valuation Officer is to get the right assessments, not to win
rating appeals.

I am only interested in arriving at the correct rateable value for the hereditament in
question and am willing to provide all relevant documentation to assist the panel in
determining their decision.

4. Appeal History
This appeal arises from a proposal seeking a reduction of the rateable value of the subject
premises from the current published figure of 52,000 rateable value to 1 rateable value to
be effective from 1 April 2010 (the correct effective date is 7 July 2014).

The appeal arises from an historical appeal against the 37,000 RV w.e.f 01/04/10. This
appeal was struck out following discussions with the VOA whereby there was differences of
opinions which were widely accepted by both parties. The appeal was struck out but not
withdrawn based on discussions at the time. The VOA then returned to the hereditament
and increased the rateable value by 15,000 to the current 52,000 w.e.f 07/07/14. Emails
will be provided to support this. The appellants then appealed this figure as it felt it was
unjust.

The Valuation Officer concerned is now requesting to increase the RV further for a second
time albeit without (to mine and the occupiers understanding) having visiting the property
once which suggests they have incorrectly valued the hereditament twice already.

5. Agreed Facts
Looking at their statement of case, the following matters appear to be accepted / agreed:
(1) The total floor areas for the various buildings which are present at the site and which
measure 680.11 sq. m. Correct.
(2) The main warehouse (line 1.1) is heated and has lining to the roof. Correct but is not
considered insulated.
(3) The level of relativity of 0.15 to be applied to the canopy (line 1.4). Correct.
(3) The level of relativity of 0.6951 to be applied to the store (line 1.5) which is noted as
being detached, unheated and unlined to both roof and walls. Correct.
(4) The amount of surfaced fenced land 1,199.36 sq. m to be valued and the basic price of
4 sq. m to be applied. Correct.
(5) The basic price of 15 sq. m to be applied to the storage container (see other additions).
Correct.
I am required to respectfully draw to the Tribunal's attention that any agreement with
regard
to facts, values and / or opinions expressed is specifically limited to proceedings before the
Valuation Tribunal for England. The parties will not be bound by any such agreement in the
event of any subsequent appeal to the UT(LC). To be queried. Why would facts be agreed
only in one instance and not the other?

7. Location & Description


The subject premises is situated on Gravel Road (Located off of Gravel Road image below
for reference), which is just of the principle A225 Main
Road which connects the village of Sutton at Hone with the large towns of Dartford (4
miles) and Sevenoaks (11 miles). The subject premises has quick access to the M20 /
M25 and M2 and the rest of the UK motorway network via Junction 3 (M20 interchange)
and Junction 1(M2 interchange) of the M25 motorway which are situated approximately 2
miles to the north and south respectively.
Mainline railway services to London Victoria, Medway / Kent towns and the Kent coast
are available at Farningham Road railway station which is approximately 1 mile to the
south.
According to my survey records, the subject premises comprises: a terrace of three mid
1970s built steel portal framed warehouse / workshop type units with solid breeze block
infill walls (Breeze block construction only image below for reference) and a steel framed
roof with cladding and translucent roof panels and which are
internally interconnected; a modular office building; a detached store; a storage container
and a canopy measuring 680.11 sq. m total floor area on a secure gated and fenced site
which is noted as being in excess of 10,500 sq. m or 2.6 acres (unconfirmed fenced area
multiple occupiers have access image below for reference)
Site plan showing site in red square. Access via blue line and Gravel Road as the yellow line.
The unconfirmed fenced land area is south of the site which includes the turning circle.
Single breezeblock construction identified.
Some of the unsurfaced fenced land included within the quoted 2.6 acres.
9. Grounds for resisting the appeal / Evidence to be spoken to
For rating purposes, the subject premises is currently valued at 52,000 rateable value using
a basic price of 70 sq. m.
Please refer to Appendix 5 on page 24 of my statement of case for a copy of the current
published valuation.
Industrial type units which were built in the 1970s and which are situated in the DA4 9
postcode are have typically been valued on scheme 75014 ranging from 70 sq. m for the
smallest units to 42.50 sq. m for the largest units.
At 637.59 sq. m total significant area, the subject premises falls to be valued towards the
upper end of the scheme of values at 70 sq. m. This is based on what basket of rents?
Nothing has been provided by the VOA to justify these values. The scheme that these values
relate to are both held on a freehold basis and in Mr Hayes own words we therefore do not
have the benefit of a passing rent to either analyse and/or comment.

The basic price of 70 sq. m that has is currently applied to the 2010 assessment reflects an
increase of 5 sq. m when compared with the 2005 assessment which was based upon a
basic price of 65 sq. m. We cannot ascertain a 2010 rateable value base on a hypothetical
2003 rent.
Looking at their statement of case, the appellant's representative contends that the subject
valuation should be no greater than either: a) 37,000 rateable value which is based upon a
lower basic price of 60 sq. m when valued as an industrial type assessment; or b) 25,750
rateable value which is based upon a basic price of 8 sq. m when valued as a storage land
assessment.
Having regard to the current valuation approach, it is noted that the 2010 rating assessment
is based upon the local industrial basis with the storage land being ancillary to the buildings,
which is no different to the approach that has been adopted for previous rating list
assessments.
Our recent inspection has confirmed that there have been no significant physical changes or
alterations at the subject premises which indicates that the current valuation approach is no
longer appropriate and that a further review and / or potential change of approach might
now
be necessary.
Looking at both the current and my revised valuations, it is evident that the total rateable
value that has been determined for the various buildings which are present at the subject
premises (38,827 RV current and 42,089 RV revised) far exceeds the amount of rateable
value that has been determined for the ancillary storage land (13,410 RV current and
11,257 RV revised).
Likewise and looking at the appellant's representative proposed valuation using the storage
land basis @ 8 sq. m for the land, the total rateable value that is sought for the buildings
(17,713 RV) far exceeds the total rateable value that is sought for the storage land (9,595
RV). I would rebut this theory as we are concerned with respective areas i.e circa 600m2 of
building coverage compared to circa 3,000+ m2 of land quoted by the valuation office. The
value applied to these parts are what is being queried at the hearing there is not a
definitive figure. Would this be marketed as a warehouse with ancillary land or land with an
ancillary warehouse?
In view of the above and on the basis of the information that is currently available to me, it
is
my firm contention that the subject premises should continue to be assessed having regard
to the local industrial basis with the storage land treated as being ancillary to the buildings
and not as a storage land assessment with ancillary buildings.
Turning now to each of the other disputed matters:
(1) The basic price sq. m
Looking at their statement of case, the appellant's representative contends that the current
basic price of 70 sq. m is excessive and that a lower basic price of 60 sq. m should be
applied.
In support of their proposed valuation the appellant's representative refers to a schedule of
37 comparable assessments.
Aside from referring to these comparable assessments in their statement of case, the
appellant's representative has failed to explain the relevance of and/or causal link between
the 37 comparable assessments and the subject premises. In other words, the appellant's
representative has failed to provide any contextual information and/or expert evidence to
support their contention that the basic price of 70 sq. m is excessive and should be
reduced
to 60 sq. m.
7
Looking at their comparables, it is noted that a significant number of them broadly support
the basic price of 70 sq. m that has been used to value the subject premises.
For example, industrial type units in the DA4 9 postcode area which were built after the
1970s are typically valued at a higher basic price:

(a) 1 The Mills, Horton Kirby, Dartford DA4 9AU, a 1990s built workshop which is currently
valued using 80 sq. m.
The basic price used for the 2005 rating assessment was 75 sq. m.

(b) 2 The Mills, Horton Kirby, Dartford, DA4 9AU, a 1990s built workshop which is
currently valued using 80 sq. m.
The basic price for the 2005 rating assessment was 75 sq. m.

Built or refurbished to a 1990s standard. No additions for portable buildings, offices and
workshops where premises are mainly land as per subject scheme. Better location. Full
Valuations below
(c) r/o 160 Main Road, Sutton at Hone, Dartford, DA4 9HP, a 2010 built workshop which is
currently valued using 78 sq. m.
Likewise, industrial type units in the DA4 9 postcode area which were built before the 1970s
are typically valued at a lower basic price:

The value ranges from 70.00 to 85.00 per square metre (or per unit, if appropriate). The
value is applicable to industrial properties, built after 1995, starting with the postcode DA4 9
.
(a) The Cottage, Horton Road, Horton Kirby, Dartford, DA4 9BN, a late 1950s / early
1960s built workshop which is currently valued using 57.50 sq. m.
The basic price used for the 2005 rating assessment was 52.50 sq. m.

The value ranges from 47.00 to 85.00 per square metre (or per unit, if appropriate). The
value is applicable to all late 1950's and 1960's industrial units situated at Horton Kirby
Paper Mills including Horton Road, The Street, New Road and Holmesdale Road, South
Darenth, Dartford, Kent. This valuation scheme applies to industrial type properties, without
a lift, such as workshops, factories, warehouses and properties that are valued in the same
way. Much smaller.
(b) r/o 115 Main Road, Sutton at Hone, Dartford, DA4 9HQ, a late 1950s built warehouse
which is currently valued using 65 sq. m.
The value ranges from 35.00 to 75.00 per square metre (or per unit, if appropriate). The
value is applicable to all industrial properties built prior to 1965 and situated within
postcode area DA4 9.
(a) 103 Horton Kirby Paper Mills South Darenth, Dartford, DA4 9AU, a 1980s built
workshop which is valued using 60 sq. m.
The basic price used for the 2005 rating assessment was 55 sq. m.

The value ranges from 60.00 to 65.00 per square metre (or per unit, if appropriate). The
value is applicable to all industrial units built or refurbished to a 1980's standard situated at
Horton Kirby Paper Mills, including Horton Road, The Street, New Road, Holmesdale Road,
South Darenth, Dartford, Kent. This valuation scheme applies to industrial type properties,
without a lift, such as workshops, factories, warehouses and properties that are valued in
the same way.
(b) GCM Marble Ltd, Oak View Stud Farm, Horton Kirby, Dartford, DA4 9DF, a 1940s /
1950s built workshop which is valued at 77.50 sq. m.
The basic price used for the 2005 rating assessment was 65 sq. m.

The value ranges from 62.50 to 90.00 per square metre (or per unit, if appropriate). The
value is applicable to all industrial units at Oak View Stud Farm, Lombard Street, Horton
Kirby, Dartford, Kent. This valuation scheme applies to industrial type properties, without a
lift, such as workshops, factories, warehouses and properties that are valued in the same
way.

It is my contention that a solid block with 1200mm of thickness provides significantly


greater
insulation / heat retention capabilities and benefits when compared with a single sheet of
cladding with circa 50mm thickness (which is noted as being present at the store at line 1.5
of the current & revised VOA valuation and which, for the sake of consistency, has been
valued as having no heating, wall or roof lining).
Over the course of the current rating list, numerous appeals have been settled against
industrial type assessments across Kent and the wider South East area which are physically
similar to the subject premises (steel portal framed with solid block infill walls) and which
broadly supports the above approach.
I would rebut this constitutes as insulation. Yes the U values are better than 50mm of
corrugated steel but a cavity wall is also has better u values than 1200mm of breeze block.
The VOA is requesting to treat these as like for like because the cavity wall would not incur
an uplift, it would merely not be discounted by 2.5%.

Turning now to the 22.96 sq. m of ground floor offices at line 1.2 of the current valuation, I
have elected to maintain an uplift of 10% above the basic price and value the basic offices at
77 sq. m to reflect the fact that they are: a) physically sub divided / partitioned from the
main
warehouse / workshop using block walls and a timber / plastered roof and, b) noted as
benefitting from enhanced levels of both natural and artificial lighting, additional heating
and
which can be accessed directly from the main yard area.
Please refer to Photograph 3 at Appendix 4 on page 21.
In contrast, the appellant's representative appears to indicate in their proposed valuation
that
the basic offices should be valued at their proposed lower basic price of 58.50 sq. m (i.e. as
being broadly equivalent to basic unaltered industrial space).
In response, it is noted that the appellant's representative has failed to provide any rental
and/or comparable settlement evidence and/or plans and photographic evidence to support
their proposed valuation and/or basic price to be applied to the basic offices.
Turning now to the 42.39 sq. m of modern basic modular office type accommodation at line
1.3 of the current valuation, the appellant's representative has adopted a lower price of
43.88 sq. m (73% of their proposed reduced basic price of 60 sq. m) as, in their opinion:
10
...."The temporary office space is not of superior quality to the main space and therefore
should not be uplifted as a 'high tech area'. Again, vacant and to let this would be removed
and not considered".
In response, I would comment as follows:
(a) On a simple stand back and look basis, the appellant representative's proposed price of
43.88 sq. m for the modern purpose built modular office type accommodation appears, at
a
first glance, to be extremely odd / conservative when compared with the 58.50 sq. m that
they have used to value the basic unaltered industrial space.
(b) In the absence of any information to the contrary, I presume that the appellant
representative's proposed price of 43.88 sq. m is for a basic porta cabin type unit which
might typically be used for storage or as a builders hut and which, physically speaking,
would
be inferior to a modern purpose built modular office type building with plastered painted
walls
and ceilings; part carpeted and part linoleum floor coverings; enhanced levels of natural and
artificial lighting; full heating; connected to the mains electricity, water and drainage; has
additional WC and kitchen facilities and Wi-Fi broadband connectivity and the like.
Please refer to Photograph 4 at Appendix 4 on page 22.
In view of the numerous physical differences that are apparent, are we comparing like for
like
here?
(c) In my professional opinion, the rental value of a modern purpose built modular office
type
building would be viewed by the market as being superior to either a basic industrial type
porta cabin and/or basic unaltered industrial space, and accordingly it is my contention that
it
should be valued at a higher price sq. m.
(d) In my professional opinion, an uplift of 20% above the basic industrial price to 84 sq. m
is appropriate and which is broadly equivalent to levels of value applied to other basic
ground
floor offices which are ancillary to the main industrial type units.
(e) We are required to value the subject premises 'rebus' - as it physically stands at the
material day. Thus, the possibility that a modern purpose built office type building that is
currently present and in use / occupation could potentially be removed from the site at
some
unspecified future date is largely irrelevant to the outcome of this case which is solely
concerned with the physical facts as they were believed to have existed on the material day,
that being 7 July 2014.
(f) Finally, no survey information, plans, photographs and/or comparable settlement
evidence
has been provided by the appellant's representative which supports their proposed lower
price of 43.88 sq. m.
Internal office specification this was agreed on joint inspection to be treated as main
space.

(3) The extent of unsurfaced fenced land at the subject premises and the amount
which falls to be valued
The current published valuation includes 2,558.35 sq. m of unsurfaced fenced land which
was noted as being: a) physically present, and b) occupied and in use at the time of our
previous inspection in December 2013 and which is currently valued at 3.50 sq. m.
Looking at page 1 of their statement of case, the appellant's representative contends that
the
unsurfaced fenced land should be disregarded, in its entirety, from the rating assessment
because it is:
11
...."used as turning circle on occasion....is not under exclusive occupation and is also too
transient with regard to boundaries."
In support of their proposed valuation the appellant's representative refers to the
comparable
premises known as GKN Steelstock Ltd, Station Road, South Darenth, DA4 9HQ which is a
large industrial assessment measuring circa 12,970 sq. m of buildings and with no ancillary
land included in the rating assessment.
In response, I would comment as follows:
(a) Aside from referring to this comparable assessment in their statement of case, the
appellant's representative has failed to explain the relevance of and/or causal link between
their comparable assessment and the subject premises. Same scheme valued on same
basis. This was made clear.
For example, the appellant's representative has failed to explain how the physical features
that are present at the GKN Steelstock site relate to the physical features that are noted as
being present at the subject premises?
Furthermore, the appellant's representative has failed to explain why no ancillary storage
land has been included in the GKN Steelstock assessment?
Are the two sites, identical or physically similar to each other? Currently valued on the same
basis so this question was posed to the VOA.
(b) At the time of the joint inspection, the total area of unsurfaced fenced land that was
noted
as being present at the subject premises is calculated to be 8,000 sq. m.This was not a
confirmed figure.
Please refer to the plan shown at Appendix 6 on page 25.
(c) At the time of the joint inspection, the total area of unsurfaced fenced land which was
occupied by the appellant ratepayer for the specific purpose of operating their aggregates
and heavy plant business was noted as being no less than 1,900 sq. m.
Please refer to the plan shown at Appendix 6 on page 26. It was not occupied exclusively
In addition, please refer to Photographs 6-8 at Appendix 4 on pages 22 to 23.
(d) At the time of our inspection, there was no evidence that the 1,900 sq. m of unsurfaced
fenced land that was occupied and being used by the appellant ratepayer was either shared
with other 3rd party occupiers or that 3rd party occupiers had access over it.
(e) If it is subsequently confirmed that access over all or part of the 1,900 sq. m of
unsurfaced fenced land is, in fact, shared with 3rd parties who have occupations elsewhere
on the site, it would be my contention the appellant ratepayer would be deemed to be in
paramount control of the land by virtue of being the principle occupier, i.e. they own 8,000
sq. m of unsurfaced fenced land and are in physical occupation of no less than 1,900 sq. m
of unsurfaced fenced land for the purposes of operating their aggregates & heavy plant
business.
(f) In cases where land is shared with other occupiers, one might have regard to the recent
Upper Tribunal case between Kotecha v Mckillop (VO) [2015] UKUT 3 (LC) for further
guidance. In this particular case, a shop occupier had control of and responsibility for a rear
service yard over which other occupiers had access. The Tribunal subsequently determined
that the appellant ratepayer was deemed to be the principle occupier - i.e. they were in
paramount control of this part of the service yard, with the shared access feature to be
addressed in the valuation. In this particular case, the Tribunal felt that a 2.5% discount
12
should be applied to the assessment to reflect the inconvenience associated with the shared
access.
A full copy of the case transcript was submitted along with my statement of case and a hard
copy is available upon request.
(g) In addition to the above, I have recently dealt with a 2010 rating appeal against the
assessment known as Grd Floor Unit 6 Lympne Industrial Park, CT21 4LR.
Here, the premises comprised an industrial type warehouse with a ground floor reception
area which was shared with the first floor occupier. The case was subsequently settled /
agreed on the basis that the ground floor reception area was deemed to be in the
paramount
control of the principle occupier with the shared access feature being a matter to be
addressed in the valuation. In this particular case, a notional corridor running from the main
entrance to the staircase was disregarded from the valuation which also equated to a 2.5%
discount of the total value attributable to the reception area.
The agent for the ratepayer was CVS Ltd. This is irrelevant. A ground floor reception which is
a defined space being used by an occupier in conjunction with others should be omitted
with regard to the mazars ruling. This may need to be reviewed. However this is very
different to an undetermined area of unsurfaced land used by multiple occupiers and the
public.
In summary and taking all of the above into consideration, it is my contention that: a) no
less
than 1,900 sq. m of unsurfaced fenced land should be included in the rating assessment and
valued at 3.50 sq. m by virtue of being in physical occupation and use by the principle
occupier at the time of our joint inspection, and b) the shared access issue along with
wooded areas, 3rd party occupied areas and areas for access and circulation has been
appropriately addressed in the 5,100 sq. m of unsurfaced fenced land that is present at the
site and under the ownership and control of the appellant ratepayer but which has been
'notionally' disregarded from my revised valuation.
Thus, it is my contention that to apply any further discount would, in effect, be double
counting.
4) Proposed 5% discount for poor access
Looking at their statement of case, the appellant's representative contends that an end
allowance discount of 5% should be applied to the assessment for "poor access" but they
have provided no further detail and / or explanation of the type, nature and extent of this
perceived issue. Furthermore, it is noted that no rental and/or comparable assessment
evidence has been provided in support of their proposed 5% discount.
In response, it is my contention that, physically speaking, the access arrangements that are
present at the subject premises do not appear to either vastly different or inferior to
arrangements that are likely to be present at other industrial estate locations where access
to some of units is likely to be across land which may be shared with other occupiers
and/or
where units may be situated in more remote parts of the estate. Conversely, it could be
argued that the access arrangements at the subject premises are superior when compared
with other industrial locations as the access road which connects the subject premises with
Gravel Road and the A225 Main Road runs directly to the side and rear of other commercial
buildings / assessments and not through it.
Poor acces
This image has previously been sent to the VOA and confirmed on joint inspection that this
does not constitute as a mezzanine floor. This is my rebbuttal evidence for the panel to
consider.