Mildenhall: Supreme Court battle over noise nuisance from Mildenhall Stadium could cost loser millions


- Credit: Jeff Higgott

A battle over noise nuisance that has been heard by the highest court in the land could cost the loser a seven-figure sum.

That was the verdict from David Coventry, one of the owners of Mildenhall Stadium, after a two-day hearing at the Supreme Court last week.

Katherine Lawrence and Raymond Shields claimed they had no idea of the stadium’s proximity when they bought a house in Fenland, West Row in January 2006, and that noise from the stadium 500 metres away blighted their lives on a daily basis.

The stadium has planning permission to host events such as speedway, stock car racing and motorcross.

The couple were awarded damages of more than £20,000 from the operators of the stadium in 2011 after a High Court hearing. However, the Court of Appeal stripped them of these damages last year.

Complex legal arguments put forward by some of the best lawyers in the country have now been heard by five Supreme Court justices. It is hoped they will return their verdict before Christmas.

One of those representing Mr Coventry is Robert McCracken QC, a QC of 10 years and one of the country’s leading experts on environmental law.

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Mr Coventry said: “That sort of expertise doesn’t come lightly – the bill is quite colossal. Everywhere you turn at this level, it’s big money.

“It’s almost like that saying about Rolls Royces. When you’re in the showroom, don’t ask how much it is – if you ask how much it is, you can’t afford it.

“If we got to a successful conclusion with this I could quite literally write a book, because the journey along the way has been absolutely unbelievable.”

The Court of Appeal ruled that the stadium had been part of the locality long before the couple bought their home. Among the key issues to be decided by the justices is the impact of planning authority decisions on the assessment of noise nuisance.

The bungalow in question remains derelict after being damaged by a fire in 2010.

During an attack on the couple’s cars by a forklift truck, an oil tank was burst and oil got into the property. This forced Mr Lawrence and Ms Shields to leave the bungalow with the fire taking place just weeks after they left.

The couple originally claimed against six parties, including Forest Heath District Council leader James Waters and his father Terry. However, this has now reduced to two respondents – Mr Coventry and Moto-Land UK.