Couple take Mildenhall Stadium case to Supreme Court

The couple's bungalow on Cook's Drove  is still derelict
The couple's bungalow on Cook's Drove is still derelict
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A couple who say they had no idea when they bought their former West Row home that it was only metres from a noisy motorsports stadium today took their fight for damages to the highest court in the land.

Katherine Lawrence and Raymond Shields’ legal battle has moved to the Supreme Court where they are asking five Law Lords at the to overturn the appeal court ruling and compensate them for the noise nuisance they say they suffered at their home at Fenland, Cooks Drove, West Row just 560 metres from Mildenhall Stadium.

This is the latest stage in a court battle which began at the High Court in 2011 when they won more than £20,000 in damages from the operators of motor sports at the stadium, only for the Court of Appeal to strip them of their award in 2012.

They lived there from January 2006 until May 2010, when their home was flooded with oil after a digger was crashed into an oil tank, then it was rendered uninhabitable by fire the following month.

Lords Neuberger, Mance, Clarke, Sumption and Carnwath will hear complex legal submissions and be asked to consider whether, and to what extent, planning permissions issued by a local authority are relevant to the assessment of nuisance.

They will also be asked to decide whether the fact that the motor sports operation already existed when the couple moved to the house is capable of being a defence against their claim. The Court of Appeal found that motorsports were well-established at the stadium before the couple bought their home and rejected their claim.

When the legal argument is over the Law Lords will reserve their judgment to give a written decision later this year or early next.

In his February 2012 Court of Appeal ruling, Lord Justice Jackson found that motorsports had become a ‘dominant feature of the locality’ long before they bought their home in 2006.

Stripping them of their High Court damages award, he said: “The outcome of this litigation will be a disaster for the claimants, a fact which I regret. On the other hand, the claimants’ predicament is a consequence of their decision to purchase a house in an area where motor sports were an established activity.

“This fact was or should have been apparent to the purchasers and the purchasers’ professional advisers.”

Lawrence and Shields had started proceedings in private nuisance against six defendants associated with the stadium..