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Press Release - Telegraph Tower 30 05 19

MEDIA RELEASE 30 May 2019 15.00

Statement regarding Telegraph Tower

Telegraph Tower was the subject of a lease agreed on the 1st June 1994. The Lease has a term of twenty-five years and ends on the 31st May 2019. The Lease was awarded at a peppercorn rent (originally £120 per year with annual increases based on RPI). This was in recognition of the extensive refurbishments to be undertaken by the tenant at his own expense.

The Lease contained a provision for the Lessee to extend the Lease for a further twenty-five years providing he gave not less than one year's notice to the States. In the event that the Lease was extended the rent would have risen to a current market rental value which, after three years would rise annually in line with RPI increases.

However, Mr Flewitt did not give notice of his intention to seek an extension to the Lease within the timescale set out and therefore the Lease will terminate on 31st May 2019.

Mr Flewitt has had the use of Telegraph Tower for twenty-five years, investing his own resources to make it habitable and enjoying the benefit of that investment and a peppercorn rent. The Lease gave him an option to give notice to extend the Lease at a market rent but he chose not to exercise that option.

The view of the States is that the Lease will therefore terminate and the property will revert to the States. In a recent meeting Mr Flewitt confirmed that this interpretation of the position was shared by his own legal advisors. The States is therefore clear that it is not acting unfairly or unreasonably towards Mr Flewitt. Should Mr Flewitt not return the property to the States on 31st May, the States will take whatever action it considers appropriate and lawful in order to repossess the property.

As far as the issue around the water supply is concerned, the States notes that Mr Flewitt sank his own private borehole (with the consent of the States as landlord). The responsibility for ensuring that the water was safe for human consumption therefore lies with Mr Flewitt. As far as contamination with PFOS is concerned, Mr Flewitt is aware that this matter would need to be raised with the States of Guernsey who are responsible for the Alderney Airport Fire Service.