National Trust
February 18, 2014
Fine Day in Court
March 18, 2014

Completion of national review of site area charges for Lookers Group

Peak Associates have recent completed a national audit for Lookers Group to verify the site area charges levied by the water companies for the surface water discharge from their sites. Lookers had identified that this was a cost to their business that had increased in recent years, particularly in the North West since this scheme was introduced gradually by United Utilities from 2008 to 2011. Initially we were able to provide free, no obligation advice on the nature of their sites and undertook a desktop assessment using their water bills and our knowledge of the system and potential drainage routes available to determine which sites may be being overcharged.

By narrowing down the target list through use of aerial photographs, current and historical site mapping, and drainage plans provided by the water companies, we were able to highlight the key sites where a saving could be made. This allowed us to prioritise in liaison with Lookers, and undertake the necessary site work to ensure complete full surface water drainage plans for each site, suitable to support our appeal to the water companies.

Subsequent to these appeals, Peak Associates have had praise from the internal assessors for both United Utilities and Severn Trent on the quality and detail shown on our plans, and the United Utilities' assessors have commented that the accuracy and openness of our appeals make it easier for them to ensure that claims can be handled promptly and without issue. This ensures that appeals do not sit incomplete with the water companies for longer than necessary, and ensures that the fee can be corrected and any rebates returned to our client as soon as possible.

Building on this success, Peak Associates have now secured substantial savings for Lookers, Vantage Toyota, and Fords of Winsford, and are now undertaking initial assessments and appeals for Arnold Clark Motors to try to secure further savings in the car sales sector. It is a necessity of these businesses that there are large areas of hardstanding for the cars to be on display. The issue with this is that increasing the hardstanding area of the site increases the costs incurred. In each case, our expertise and experience in drainage has allowed us to identify where savings can be made, and also to highlight where it may be cost effective to undertake re-drainage to achieve a further reduction in costs

By offering a free, no obligation desktop assessment of sites, we have been able to provide our clients in these cases with an initial indication of what savings can be made. This allows planning and agreement for what work should be undertaken and what timescales are acceptable. With these assessments, as with all our clients, our fee for the actual appeal was based on a percentage of the reduction made, which means that our clients saw a benefit in the very first year, and in most cases our fee was more than covered by the rebate secured for previous charges paid to the water company. In addition, it means that we were able to undertake the appeal with no financial risk to our clients.

If you think your business has permeable ground on site or in the surrounding area, or is adjacent to a watercourse, canal, ditch, or other natural drainage feature, we may be able to help you save money too. Peak Associates will undertake a free desktop assessment of your site to determine the potential savings, with no obligation and no cost to you, please contact us for more information.


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