Noisy nuisance, planning permission, injunctions and damages – Coventry v Lawrence

Noisy nuisance, planning permission, injunctions and damages – Coventry v Lawrence

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On 26 February 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal in the case of Coventry v Lawrence (aka the Fen Tigers Case).

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The case concerned a number of issues relating to the law of private nuisance, a common law tort. Lord Neuberger, giving the leading judgment, found that the respondents’ activities constitute a nuisance and that they had failed to establish a prescriptive right to carry out those activities.

The judgment contains plenty of points of interest which will require far greater analysis than is contained in this article. But what follows is a brief summary of a few of the key issues covered in the judgment.

 Factual Background of the case

The Appellants (Lawrence and another) purchased and moved in to a property known as Fenland in 2006. The Respondents (Coventry and others) are the owners and operators of a racing track and a stadium located 500 to 800 metres from the appellants’ property which is otherwise primarily surrounded by agricultural land.

Since being constructed in the late 1970s, the stadium has been used for various motor sports including speedway racing. In 1997 the local council issued a Certificate of Lawful Use stating that stock car racing and banger racing had become an established use of the stadium and were therefore become immune from planning control enforcement, pursuant to section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The motocross track was constructed in 1992 and

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