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Poll: Mildenhall Stadium debate - should people be able to complain about activities near their homes that were well-established before they moved in?

09:58 14 July 2014

 Mildenhall Stadium

Mildenhall Stadium

Archant

The owner of an under-threat Suffolk stadium has renewed calls for a change in the law despite a petition signed by more than 14,000 people falling on deaf ears.

Mildenhall Stadium could be forced to close after it lost a long-running court case with residents Katherine Lawrence and Raymond Shields, leaving it facing a legal bill that could run to millions of pounds.

The couple moved close to the stadium in West Row in 2006, and began legal action two years later over the noise.

Ms Lawrence and Mr Shields won at the High Court in 2011, but then the Court of Appeal overturned this decision. However, the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land – ruled in favour of the couple.

Following outcry from across the world of speedway, a petition was launched calling for a change in the law so no one could start such proceedings in situations where they had “came to the nuisance”, meaning the practice was already well-established.

To date, the petition has received 14,288 signatures and prompted a response from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which said it had no intention of changing the law.

Owner Dave Coventry said: “They recognised it by saying the judicial system can’t be changed, and yet I look at parliament and they’re continuously changing laws.

“If I had a pound for every person whose told me what we’re saying is common sense, I’d be able to pay the legal bills and have a couple of weeks in the Bahamas.”

The Supreme Court is yet to decide on costs in the case, but Mr Coventry – who has been told the figure could be around £1.6million – said he hoped to know before the Supreme Court breaks at the end of July.

The MoJ’s answer said: “Since the late 1800s, it has become well established in case law that once it is established that a particular act amounts to a nuisance, it cannot be justified on the basis that the complainant ‘came to the nuisance’.

“In other words, legal proceedings can be taken in relation to issues that can constitute a nuisance, regardless of whether those circumstances arose before the complainant became the occupier of the affected premises.”

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