Another noise case against a race track was in court last month. This time it was against the operators of Mildenhall Stadium, a speedway, banger racing and motocross stadium in Suffolk and, this time, heard in the Supreme Court (having already been through the High Court and Appeal Court).
It’s the ruling’s principles – rather than the specifics of the case – that are most noteworthy here. Couple moves into house, apparently unaware it’s within half a mile of a racetrack where they’ve held meetings, with planning permission, since 1975, and don’t like it.
You and I would check first, I suspect, but there you go; the house is also two miles from RAF Mildenhall. Maybe they didn’t know that, either.
Anyhoo, they first complain a few months in, before starting legal proceedings in 2008. At first they win, then they lose on appeal. On 26 February they win again in the Supreme Court.
Here’s where the principles come in. First, a venue might argue it has a prescriptive right to make noise because it has done for so long. And “it is possible to obtain… a right to commit what would otherwise be a nuisance by noise”, reads the judgement. However, “what has to be established is that the relevant activity has created a nuisance for over 20 years without interruption”. In other words, if you’re a bad neighbour for long enough, you could argue you’re entitled to be forever. The stadium didn’t manage it.