BTCC » 27 January 2009
Croft fails to win noise appeal
The Croft circuit has lost its appeal against having to pay damages to three people who claim their lives have been affected by 'noise nuisance', leaving its future in jeopardy.
Derek and Julia Watson, together with their daughter Jill Wilson, have lived within 300 metres of the circuit in Dalton-on-Tees for several years, but took a case to the High Court last year claiming to be victims of 'noise nuisance'.
The judge ruled in their favour, ordering the circuit's promoters Corft Promo-Sport Ltd to pay Mr and Mrs Watson £109,600 damages and Mrs Wilson £40,000.
Now, Croft Promo-Sport Ltd have lost their appeal to dismiss the order and have the damages, which include a reported £700,000 bill of legal costs, reduced.
Furthermore, they have been slapped with an additional injunction to limit activities to 40 days a year. Currently, Croft, which hosts British Touring car and British Superbike events is active between 45 and 50 days a year.
According to the Northern Echo newspaper, Richard Jones QC argued that the circuit had 'changed the character' of the area to such an extent that the noise levels were reasonable.
However, Appeal Court judge Sir Andrew Morritt claimed he could find no legal flaw in the original ruling that the Watsons and Mrs Wilson had suffered an 'actionable nuisance'. He went on to claim it was 'illogical' the injunction of 40 days hadn't been installed.
While the Watsons and Mrs Wilson insist they didn't have an issue with the large events that take place, they were against the public track days that take place at other times of the year.
Refused the opportunity to appeal to the House of Lords, Croft has also been ordered to pay £120,000 of legal costs straight away.
The QC went on to claim it is worried this ruling will raise a serious precedent for other circuits around the country, with neighbouring landowners potentially being prompted into action against noise pollution.
It remains to be seen whether the large legal bills Croft faces means it will be able to stave off closure.
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