Some wardens living in flats in former servants' quarters and attics, and earning about pounds 11,000 a year, are having their homes valued in excess of pounds 320,000. They face council tax bills of up to pounds 1,000 a year. Assessors have apparently concluded that they have full use of the mansions and should pay accordingly.
Ian Blaikie is the National Trust's live-in administrator at Lanhydrock House near Bodmin, Cornwall, which has 40 rooms and 22 acres of grounds open to the public.
Mr Blaikie has a two-bedroom flat assessed at band H. An assistant who lives in another flat in the house has been put in band B. Mr Blaikie said: 'The assessors obviously thought that as administrator I had the run of the house and grounds - which certainly isn't the case.' Several other wardens' accommodation has also been rated at H or G.
Helena Graham, a spokeswoman for the Inland Revenue, which organised the valuations, said any problems may have been caused by the drive-by assessment of properties for the tax. 'It wouldn't be possible to tell from the outside that somebody doesn't have the free run of the property.'
A spokesman for the Department of the Environment confirmed that a caretaker's flat in a National Trust property should normally be treated as a separate dwelling and banded accordingly.Reuse content