Licensee in mobile phone mast row

1 June, 2006

By Emily Wright

A licensee is having to appease angry residents as Punch Taverns allows mobile phone masts to be put up on the premises

An Oxford licensee is stuck in the firing line between local residents and his pub company because a mobile phone mast is to be erected on his premises.

John Dunkley, tenant of Punch Taverns pub the Chester Arms in Oxford, said he has been receiving abusive telephone calls and a petition has been raised by local residents campaigning against the plan.

But according to the terms of his lease Punch is allowed to erect communications equipment on the area near the pub as it has an agreement with a mobile phone company to put up masts on pub premises in the area.

Mr Dunkley told The Publican: “I don’t mind the petition - everyone is entitled to their opinion - but we’ve had some anonymous phone calls from people telling us what they think and that’s been quite upsetting.

“The problem is that the phone company is doing nothing wrong. The government has given it permission and so it is working within its rights. But it’s the licensee who the residents have links to and that’s where they’re going to go with their problems.”

Mr Dunkley believes that the mobile phone company had handled the situation badly and that there should have been more consultation with residents before plans were made.

He added that Punch Taverns could have been more selective about where the masts were placed as his pub is positioned next to a school.

He also warned licensees to double-check anything they were unsure of in their leases.

“I saw something in mine about communications equipment but I never for a second imagined it would include a mobile phone mast being put up,” Mr Dunkley said. “Now I’ve signed it I don’t have a choice in the matter.”

A spokesman from Punch Taverns said: “All contracts are agreed in partnership with our retailers on a secure agreement on a case by case basis.

“On the few occasions where there is local opposition we do attend consultation meetings with all parties to address any concerns.”v

The Publican Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.


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