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Complainant Name:
Mr & Mrs Simon Reed

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Bridgnorth Journal

Complaint:

Mr & Mrs Simon Reed, owners of the Pheasant Inn pub, complained to the Press Complaints Commission under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice that the newspaper's coverage of a meeting for local residents opposed to the complainants' plans to change from commercial to residential premises was inaccurate and misleading. The complainants were also concerned that the newspaper had not sought to verify the claims with them prior to publication.

Resolution:

The matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following correction:

Our article of 20 July reported that more than 50 local residents had attended a meeting to protest an application to convert the Pheasant Inn pub from commercial to residential use.

The article included comment from Friends of the Pheasant Committee member Vanessa Lee, who stated that ‘representatives of the local Hunt, fishing clubs, walkers and fishing and shooting syndicates said they would willingly use the pub again if there was a more welcoming atmosphere' and that ‘a huge number of residents in the parish and within a 2.5 mile radius had pledged they would use it again if there was a change of landlord'.

Owners of the Pheasant Inn, Mr & Mrs Simon Reed, have asked us to point out their understanding that attendance at the meeting was in fact lower than 50. They dispute that the meeting could be accurately described as ‘public', given that those unwilling to sign up on entry to "Friends of The Pheasant" membership were denied entry and ejected. The Reeds strongly deny any suggestion of an ‘unwelcoming atmosphere', or that there is any evidence a change of landlord would have such an impact on the pub's trade. The proprietors highlight that, in the period of their 29 year ownership, the Pheasant Inn has regularly hosted events for local clubs, including the Hunt and local shooting syndicate; neither of which, they are informed, had any official representation at the meeting. The Reeds say that the leader of the local fishing club used the pub on a weekly basis and the annual Club meeting had been held at the Pheasant Inn for many years. They are unaware of a local walking group, but point out that that the pub has often catered for organised groups outside the immediate area. All of these groups, they say, continued to use the pub until its closure. Finally, the Reeds highlight that the pub has over many years been listed in a number of Guides on an unsolicited basis, praised for services provided and been the subject of very favourable press reviews.

We regret that the views of Mr and Mrs Reed were not sought prior to publication and apologise to them for any misleading impression created by our article.

Date Published: 29/10/2012



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