Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Lowestoft Case - Crestview Drive Lowestoft (summary)

This long running case has involved senior officials of the Valuation Office Agency, Valuation Tribunals, the  Adjudicator, Bob Blizzard MP, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and Ministers. It is an episode in the history of the VOA they should be ashamed of. But the Valuation Office Agency still haven't learnt their lesson.

Two years after the introduction of Council Tax, the Valuation Office Agency notified a number of the residents that the Council Tax band of their properties were incorrect, and would be increased from band B to C. A year later, the VOA then informed some of those same residents that band C was incorrect, and the Council Tax band would be increased to band D.

Residents discovered that similar or identical bungalow types were in different Council Tax bands and there was no consistency in the banding over the whole estate.

A Director of the Valuation Office Agency admitted in a letter: it is with very much regret that I have to agree with your comment that the VO has made a complete shambles of banding the properties in Crestview Drive.

Eight years later, the Valuation Office Agency made derisory ex gratia payments to some residents as compensation for the errors they made.