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Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd v London & Quadrant Housing Trust [2020] UKUT 282 (LC)

Oliver Radley-Gardner has appeared for the operator in relation to the acquisition of a code agreement under Part 4 of the Electronic Communications Code. The case concerned equipment rights, upgrading, sharing and valuation. The main points are:

  • An equipment cap is no longer appropriate;
  • Particularly in the case of an operator who is an infrastructure provider, paragraph 17 does not give all of the sharing and upgrading rights needed, and the operator can seek wider rights expressly;
  • However the “least damage to landowner” principle enshrined in paragraph 23(5) of the Code was met by limiting the sharing to two operators with further operators as permitted by paragraph 17, but with equipment unlimited;
  • Consideration was set at £5,000, made up as follows:
    • Nominal site value £50 
    • Benefit to the operator of the site provider’s responsibilities for building maintenance and insurance in the order of £1,500. 
    • An allowance of £1,000 would reflect the additional burdens of managing access across the common parts and onto the roof.  
    • An allowance to reflect the anticipated costs to the site provider of the operator’s rights to share the benefits of the agreement with up to two others and to upgrade the apparatus at the site without restriction. 
  • The Tribunal concluded at paragraph [154] that:

“[…] for the assistance of parties in other cases, that while each reference must be determined on the basis of the evidence presented to the Tribunal, the evidence we have considered in this case gives us no reason to expect that the market value of a site provider’s agreement to confer code rights over a roof top site on any different residential building will be much more or less than the sum of £5,000 we have determined.  […] [t]here may be features of a particular building which justify a modest range, but we would not expect variations to be significant one way or the other.  The evidence does not suggest that there is much difference between the value of a site on a residential building in Inner London or in Sheffield and we would be surprised if values in other parts of the country were not in the same narrow bracket.”    

Oliver was instructed by Leona Briggs, Emily Van Schalkwyk and Tom Bumstead of Osborne Clarke.

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