A STADIUM owner has described his relief after a two-and-a-half year court case that had ‘pushed him to the limits’ finally ended.
Dave Coventry, owner of Mildenhall Stadium, was facing £1 million in costs last year when a court declared the noise from the motorsport arena was a blight on a couple’s daily life.
But on Monday at the Civil Appeal Court in London, three judges decided that Raymond Shields and Katherine Lawrence’s complaints were not valid.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Coventry said: “I am not the sort of person to let things get on top of me but this pushed me to the limits – it has been absolutely devastating.”
In a stark turnaround, it is now the couple who face enormous lawyers’ bills.
Mr Shields and Ms Lawrence were immediately stripped of a £20,000 damages payout they were awarded last year and had to pay costs of £85,000.
However, that amount is likely to be only a fraction of their final bill.
Lord Justice Jackson said the outcome for the couple was ‘a disaster’.
But he added: “On the other hand, their predicament is a consequence of their decision to purchase a house in an area where motor sports were an established activity.”
The couple claim that when they bought their home, Fenland, they were unaware that speedway, stock car racing, banger racing and motocross were held nearby – just 500 metres from their front door.
But Lord Justice Jackson dismissed those claims, saying the couple should have checked the local authority’s planning register before moving in.
“It is a matter of prudence, indeed basic common sense, to inspect that register before purchasing a property in a rural location,” he said.
He added that although he was making no finding of dishonesty against the couple, the motorsports use should have been apparent to them.
The couple were also told there was ‘not a scrap of evidence’ that a forklift truck attack on their house in April 2010 or a fire in June of the same year had anything to do with stadium operators.