Orchard Cottage in Ticehurst
Susan, 58, and hubbie James, 60, of Ticehurst, East Sussex, claim they’ve been “living on tenterhooks” for the past decade ever since the ground had opened.
They say the sound of bouncing boys has stopped them sitting out in the idyllic garden of their luxury country home
The pauir sued the owners of the recreation ground, claiming noise nuisance – but Judge Simon Coltart would have none of it.
The facility had “very strong support” from other villagers, but the Mays had lost all objectivity and were “hell-bent” on stopping what they viewed as unreasonable noise.
They kept diaries of noise coming from the facility, which opened in 2005 and includes basketball and mini football pitches as well as a cycling area.
Their garden is just 50 metres away and the couple said the sound of thumping balls, foul language and screaming was simply “unacceptable”.
They said they were exiled from their own garden “for fear of the unexpected noise starting up again”.
But Judge Coltart said: “If that was right, it would seem to me to show an over-sensitivity to noise which cannot possibly be going on at all times on every day of the week”.
He added: “It is always a question of degree, whether the interference with comfort or convenience is sufficiently serious to constitute a nuisance.
“In an organised society everyone must put up with a certain amount of discomfort and annoyance caused by the legitimate activities of his neighbours.
“An interference which alone causes harm to someone of abnormal sensitiveness does not of itself constitute a nuisance.
“Mr and Mrs May have allowed themselves to get into the position of finding any noise from the games area which they hear, and they can hear nearly all of it, as being unacceptable.
“It is quite clear from their logs that every single time there is the use of the games area, that is logged as being unacceptable noise.”
Dismissing the couple’s claim, the judge said: “I find that their opposition to the games area over the years, and indeed from before it was built, has become an obsession as far they are concerned.
“I find that they take the view, as Mr May so graphically said in his evidence, that the proponents of the games area are the baddies and that he and his wife are not quitters.”
Challenging Judge Coltart’s decision at London’s Appeal Court, the couple argued that they had been wrongly criticised as oversensitive.
But, dismissing their complaints, Lord Justice Vos ruled that neither the judge’s handling of the case, nor his conclusions, could be faulted.
No one disputed that noise from the games area could be heard in their garden, but Judge Coltart had rightly focused “on what it was reasonable to put up with in this neighbourhood”.
The ruling spelt victory for the owners of the recreation ground – the Beatrice Drewe Trust – and finally ended the couple’s long campaign to stop the noise.
Source: The Sun, James Cox, 22nd July 2016. To read the article, click here