West Row couple win appeal over noise from motocross stadium in Supreme Court

Fenlands bungalow, West Row, is still derelict
Fenlands bungalow, West Row, is still derelict

A couple who waged a lengthy legal battle over noise from a motor sports stadium near their former home in West Row has won a ruling from the Supreme Court that it is a ‘nuisance’.

The highest court in the land has granted an appeal by Katherine Lawrence and Raymond Shields to claw back compensation awarded to them in the High Court but later revoked in the Appeal Court.

The couple claimed to have no idea, when they bought their home at Fenland, Cooks Drove, West Row, that it was just 560m from Mildenhall Stadium, home to the successful Fen Tigers speedway team.

As well having their claim to more than £20,000 in damages from the operators of motor sports at the stadium, restored the couple will also be entitled to an injunction restricting activities at the stadium once their home is rebuilt.

The property (pictured above) was destroyed by fire in June 2010. Ms Lawrence and Mr Shields had lived in the property from January 2006 to May 2010 when it was flooded with oil after a forklift was driven into the heating oil tank.

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

Lord Neuberger, giving the Supreme Court’s main ruling, 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 had claimed that they had become immune from proceedings as the activities had been continuing for at least 20 years. However, Lord Neuberger said that the evidence “fell well short” of establishing this.

He said that, when and if the matter goes 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.

The Supreme Court’s ruling restores the previous High Court judgement in early 2011 that awarded Ms Lawrence and Mr Shields more than £20,000 in damages from the operators of motor sports at the stadium.

This ruling had been stripped by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that motorsports had been well-established at the stadium before the couple bought their home.