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‘Noisy’ Games Area Focus of Appeal Court Test Case

Published: 22 September 2014, in categories: Legal Updates | Residential Property Updates | News and Updates

‘Noisy’ Games Area Focus of Appeal Court Test Case

A small multi-use games area in a sleepy Sussex town is the focus of an important test case in which the Court of Appeal will be asked to analyse the extent to which noise, and its impact on homeowners, should influence planning decisions.

A local woman had for almost a decade complained that her life was blighted by anti-social behaviour and constant noise emanating from the fenced games area, which adjoined her home and comprised goalposts, basketball hoops and other freely available facilities, primarily used by local youth.

It was some relief to her that a planning restriction was in place, banning use of the facility outside daylight hours. However, she went to court after the local authority lifted that condition, enabling use of the games area at any time of the day or night.

The woman’s challenge to the council’s decision was dismissed by the High Court; however, in granting her permission to appeal, the Court found it arguable that the council had failed to abide by national planning policies relating to noise.

In lifting the night time embargo, contrary to the advice of one of its own planning officers, it was arguable that the council had failed to take into account its obligation to 'mitigate and reduce to a minimum' noise levels which had a negative impact on the woman’s health and quality of life.

The woman’s lawyers acknowledged that the facility enjoyed 'considerable public support' and that it might not be possible to entirely eliminate noise. However, that did not cancel out the distress suffered by the woman who had employed noise consultants and installed costly acoustic fencing at her own expense.

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