Punch responds to 'unfounded claims' from tenants

By Ellie Bothwell contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lease, Public house

Andy Slee: 'We have sought to provide clarity to the committee on a number of the points raised'
Andy Slee: 'We have sought to provide clarity to the committee on a number of the points raised'
Punch Taverns has responded to what it calls “unfounded claims” from its tenants, after it was accused in a number of evidence statements to the pubs code Bill.

The pubco said the Punch Tenant Network, which was founded by Chris Lindesay of the Sun Inn in Dunsfold, Surrey and has openly criticised the company throughout its financial restructuring, did not make direct contact with Punch until the Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment Bill Committee evidence session on 16 October 2014.

It also said that campaign group Fair Pint’s comments that parallel rent assessment “simply adds another column to an existing methodology” are “misleading and not a true reflection of the professional opinion of RICS, to which they are party.” It highlighted that Fair Pint members Simon Clarke and David Morgan were on the consultation committee which formulated the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors valuation guidance for pubs that stated comparison of tied and free of tie pubs is “problematic”.

Punch’s supplementary written submission to the Bill​ highlighted “inaccuracies” in evidence submitted by Ron Piper, former tenant of the Sir John Barleycorn in Hitchin Herts, and Carol Ross of the Roscoe Head in Liverpool.

'Clarity'

Punch Taverns external affairs director Andy Slee said: “We have sought to provide clarity to the committee on a number of the points raised and refute claims that we believe to be completely wrong. The committee will need to make its own judgements but we are sure they will be based on the facts.”

Responding to Punch’s submission, Lindesay said: “The Punch Tenant Network (PTN) came into existence on 29th February 2014.

“PTN approached Punch as soon as practicable after the refinancing was completed and a meeting was held on November 5th.

“At that meeting a number of suggestions were made as to how Punch and PTN members might work together to the mutual benefit of the tenants and Punch. 

“We are a little disappointed that we have not yet had any response, but understand that Punch may be very busy engaging with members of parliament at present.”

RICS guidance

Fair Pint campaigner Simon Clarke said: “We agreed the [RICS] guidance and stand by it but it was our understanding that there was no dispute amongst the panellists that one of the key principles of the guidance was to ensure that a tied tenant was no worse off than if they were free of tie.”

He added: “Comparison between any pubs is problematic, location, size, demographic, prominence, lease terms and even the tenant in occupation all need to be considered and subjective reflections made to accommodate differences.

“In order to accommodate the principle of a 'tied tenant being no worse off than if they were free of tie' into existing rent assessment templates an additional column is needed to demonstrate the profitability and circumstances of the tenant under a free of tie scenario, much the same as proposed by the Government’s proposed pubs code.”

Related topics: Legislation, Punch Pubs & Co

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Breaking News

Posted by Karl Harrison,

Well, well, well, House of Commons votes for Market Rent Only option. How will Punch Taverns' "External Affairs" director handle this external news? I guess we'll need to wait and see although it could be a long wait. And now, cricket..............

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What on earth is an "External Affairs Director"??

Posted by Karl Harrison,

Does Andy Slee wake up every morning thinking "What does my job title really mean?" I guess is translates as 'Spin Doctor'. Punch, of course, is a desperate and failed real estate play and that might explain why they need such as weird role to be filled. Andy lists himself more normally as just a Director on LinkIn and prior to being at Punch had his own business which lasted just 10 months - about the time that many Punch tenants have managed to stay in business, I'm told. More significantly Andy is a cricket coach and so there's scope for a chat with Phil Dixon if the day job gets really boring. Back to the RICS which, of course, has the equally vaguely named Trade Related Valuation Group to rely on "for the facts". The TRVG is a controversial outfit that for many years took its lead on pub valuations from Rob May - employed by, er, Enterprise Inns. So that's alright then. I heard recently that May might not currently be in the TRVG but the pubcos can perhaps rely on their other placemen to try to steer valuation guidance in their direction. Punch Taverns - with the real money boys long having left the building - is now a largely collapsed pack of cards stumbling around looking for existence. Perhaps the External Affairs Director will eventually be tasked with delivering the eulogy which is likely to be an external affair.

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A Gem from Chris

Posted by Dave Mountford,

Great last line from Chris - brilliant

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