Moore Blatch wins Property Law Firm award
South Coast Property Awards recognises Moore Blatch’s exceptional year
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Since the new Electronic Communications Code was introduced, some 18 months ago, the rules of the game for telecoms operators and land owners have seen real change.
In essence, the code is about enabling infrastructure so that the public has access to a choice of high quality telecoms networks.
Land owners might explore ways to defeat Code rights being claim on the basis that it would interfere with redevelopment plans.
Tribunal Decision – EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK v Meyrick 1968 Combined Trust Of Meyrick Estate Management 
The operators, EE and Hutchinson 3G, had masts on an Estate in Hampshire owned by The Meyrick Trust. They sought to renew their rights under the old Code but negotiations had stalled, so the operators applied to the Tribunal to impose fresh rights under the new Code.
The Trust opposed the application on the basis that it intended to erect their own masts in place of the operator’s existing ones. This was because Code rights cannot be claimed over electronic communications apparatus (including masts). The intended consequence of this would be that after the redevelopment, the Code wouldn’t apply – and the land owner would then be able to freely negotiate new terms outside the constraints of the Code.
The Upper Tribunal adopted the same approach taken by the Supreme Court in the key decision is Franses v Cavendish  relating to an opposed lease renewal based upon redevelopment grounds under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. In that case, a new test was established – whether or not the landlord still do the works if the tenant left voluntarily, regardless of having the financial means available to implement planning permission.
Franses was not binding on the Tribunal, but it was held to be relevant to the Code. Accordingly, where a landowner relies on its proposed redevelopment to resist Code rights, the landowner must intend to do the same works if the Code rights were not being claimed.
Landlords should be cautious seeking to implement schemes that seek to ‘get around’ the Code legislation.
There are circumstances when Code rights can be defeated, but be prepared for the proposals and motives to be heavily scrutinised.
Only schemes that are genuinely intended, regardless of any telecoms apparatus, are likely to succeed.
Chris Marsden has experience acting for national telecoms operators as well as private land owners. Please get in touch to discuss any concerns you might have about the impact of Code rights on your land or development scheme.
With offices in Southampton, Lymington, Richmond and the City of London, the 350 strong law firm has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Property Law Firm award in this year’s South Coast Property Awards.
This award celebrates law firms whose property team has had an exceptional year, either in terms of volume of work, quality of instructions, or both.
South Coast Property Awards 2019 will be held on Thursday July 18, 2019 at the Hilton Ageas Bowl on where the winners will be announced.
Martin Duck, Partner and head of commercial real estate at Moore Blatch, commented: ”
I am delighted that our hard work this year has been recognised. The reputation of our Real Estate team continues to grow year on year and we are fast becoming the ‘go to’ property firm in the area. We have worked on many significant transactions and have recruited some exceptional lawyers to further strengthen the team over the last year.”
Mark Grant has joined Moore Blatch as a partner in its land development team. Mark joins from Gateley Plc where he was partner in the firm’s Guilford office.
The recent case of Banner Homes Limited v St Albans City and District Council illustrates how the Asset of Community Value scheme can cause problems to development. In this particular case, a field was listed as an Asset of Community Value (“ACV”) – despite its use by the local community having been unlawful.
At Moore Blatch, we regularly act for purchasers who are based in London and other urban centres who are looking to purchase rural homes and escape to the country. They may be relocating or looking to purchase a second property as an investment or lifestyle proposition.
Leading law firm Moore Blatch LLP has advised Allum & Sidaway, an award-winning chain of jewellers, on their recent refinance to allow for refurbishment of their portfolio of stores.
Established in 1942, Allum & Sidaway is a family-run business with stores in Hampshire, Dorset, Kent and Wiltshire.
Commenting on the deal, Richard Hughes said: “This important transaction will help further an already successful and highly regarded business. Allum & Sidaway are a long-standing client of ours and we have been delighted to assist them as their business has continued to thrive.”
Whether you are a commercial landlord, developer, lender, commercial tenant, private individual or landowner, disputes can be costly both in terms of time and money.
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Chris Marsden | 25.07.2019