A decision was made on 14 June 2022 by the Upper Tribunal (Land Chamber) in the Crawley Borough Council v EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited case to order the removal of telecoms apparatus under the Electronic Communications Code (ECC) for the first time since it was introduced in 2017. We asked Chris Hicks, Head of Telecoms based at our Market Harborough office what he thought of the decision.
“From what I understand EE and H3G had existing telecoms apparatus installed at Crawley Town FC’s Broadfield Stadium pursuant to a lease governed by the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. The council had proposed a new lease by terminating the existing by issuing a s.25 notice. Through an administrative error the Operators did not apply for a new tenancy and the previous lease came to an end. As a result of this Crawley Borough Council then had the right to require removal under paragraph 37 (3) of the ECC and served notice under paragraph 40 requiring removal and also made an application for an Order under paragraph 44 requiring removal.
It subsequently appears that the Operators then served a paragraph 20 seeking rights to install apparatus on a nearby part of the stadium site but were prevented by the decision in the Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) v Compton Beauchamp Estates Ltd case which is currently in the Supreme Court.
The Operators were concerned about a potential gap in coverage of the site, but it was decided that this was of the Operators own making. If the Tribunal delayed an Order for removal, it would be for reasons that were not legitimate, therefore removal was ordered. This is a large win for Landlords and the first of its kind since the introduction of the ECC.”
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