Couple triumph in stadium noise battle

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A couple who have waged a lengthy, see-saw, legal battle over the noise from a motor sports stadium near their former home, have won a ruling from the highest court in the land that it is a “nuisance”.

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by Katherine Lawrence and Raymond Shields to claw back compensation they were awarded in the High Court but then stripped of by the Appeal Court. They will also be entitled to an injunction restricting activities at the stadium once their home is rebuilt following fire damage.

Five law lords gave a unanimous decision yesterday on a challenge heard last November to the Appeal Court’s stance.

Ms Lawrence and Mr Shields claimed they had no idea, when they bought their former home at West Row near Mildenhall, that they were moving less than a kilometre away from the motor sports stadium and giving the ruling Lord Neuberger, said: “There is no question of the respondents being able to 
rely on the fact that the 
appellants came to the nuisance, or any other similar argument.

“The appellants used their property, Fenland, as a residence, which was the same purpose to which it had been put ever since before the activities, currently carried on at the stadium and the track had started.”

The stadium owners claimed that they had become immune from proceedings as the activities had been 
continuing for at least 20 years.

But Lord Neuberger said that the evidence “fell well short” of establishing this.

He said that when, and if, the matter went back before the judge for further consideration, he should be entitled to consider whether to discharge the injunction and award damages for future nuisance instead.

Ms Lawrence and Mr Shields had won more than £20,000 in damages from the operators of motor sports at the stadium, home of the Fen Tigers speedway team.

However, the Court of Appeal later stripped them of their award, finding that motor sports were well established at the stadium before the couple bought their home.

In November though, they asked Lords Neuberger, Mance, Clark, Sumption and Carnwath to overturn the Appeal Court’s ruling and compensate them for the noise nuisance they said they suffered at their home at Fenland, Cooks Drove, West Row just 560 metres from the stadium where they lived from January 2006 until May 2010, when their home was first flooded with oil before 
being rendered uninhabitable by fire the following month.

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