Bryan Hardy's instincts were right. The 80-year-old resident from the NSW Blue Mountains argued in June that a massive jump in the land valuation of his property could not be right. So he appealed the valuation and this September secured a win which will see a dramatic reduction in his rates bill. A 12 page report from the independent valuer found the valuation of Mr Hardy's Craigend Street land in Leura should be reduced from the original $1.2 million to $880,000. "I accepted the [new] figure and immediately received a confirmation letter from the Valuer General. The $1.2 million [valuation] was wrong," he said. The change in valuation means Mr Hardy will save a minimum of $1100 a year on his council rates, and as rates increase that could add up to about $4000 in total in the next three years. He is awaiting a revised council rates notice. "It's a huge amount. How can pensioners pay that? The system is wrong. The Valuer General should look at an individual suburb and increase across the board, not pick out a few blocks [in each village]," he said. "If it [the valuation] had stayed at $1.2 million, they could have said [it was worth] $1.5 million in three years time. The whole system is flawed." Mr Hardy said he had a "long discussion" with the new independent valuer after submitting his claim - including alerting him to his appearance on the Blue Mountains Gazette's front page on June 22. At the time Mr Hardy said the Valuer General's increase to his 1500 square metre block made him think of the line from the movie The Castle - "Tell Him He's Dreaming". "I did my homework and challenged the new valuation that supposedly increased my land value by 100 per cent," he said. He said his block with a mains sewer line from back to front and deemed partially flood-prone could not be worth $1,200,000 when two-and-a-half years ago it was valued by an independent valuer at $600,000. IN OTHER NEWS: Earlier this year Blue Mountains City Council called for a public inquiry into land valuations by the Valuer General. Council advised residents to challenge their valuations if they disagreed with them. Council said due to the new valuations, about 25 per cent of landowners will have large rate increases, 40 per cent will have their rates remain the same while 36 per cent will have a rate reduction. "If you were one of the lucky ones in the 75 per cent category you would stay silent and thank your lucky stars," said Mr Hardy. When he received the first valuation, Mr Hardy was concerned he might have to sell due to the increase in his rates. He submitted his appeal online and sent a follow-up letter with some prices he researched around his area. He also successfully objected in 2019 and was given a reduction. "A 100 per cent residential increase in three years can never be substantiated," he said Some of his neighbours were unfortunately not as lucky. The time to appeal has now passed.