Dream home ‘ru­ined by noise nui­sance chop­pers’

Mil­lion­aire home­owner is seek­ing £700,000 in com­pen­sa­tion from aero­drome

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

Nor­man Peires and his wife Lorna claim the night­mare din of chopper blades com­ing from a nearby aero­drome has blighted their hap­pi­ness and are now claim­ing £700,000 dam­ages.

The cou­ple ploughed £1.5mil­lion into re­vamp­ing Shep­herds Holt, a sixbed­room man­sion in Den­ham soon af­ter they bought it in 2006.

And Mrs Peires, 69, told the High Court: “We made that house ex­actly the way we wanted it. We wanted to live there for ever”.

But their dreams soured when re­lax­ing in the gar­den and af­ter­noon ten­nis par­ties had to com­pete with the roar of he­li­copters from nearby Den­ham Aero­drome, the court heard.

The cou­ple ended up putting Shep­herd’s Holt on the mar­ket as the noise was ‘driv­ing us crazy’, said Mrs Peires, who once took fly­ing lessons at the aero­drome.

And now the cou­ple are su­ing the own­ers of the 100-year-old air­field, Bick­er­ton’s Aero­drome Ltd, claim­ing they’ve not done enough to cur­tail the racket. They want a court or­der re­strict­ing the noise – or £700,000 com­pen­sa­tion for the loss of their home’s value if that can­not be done. The ‘loud drum­ming and shattering’ pen­e­trates into the draw­ing room and mas­ter bed­room even with the dou­ble-glazed win­dows shut, the cou­ple say. And, when out­side in their home’s ‘ex­ten­sive grounds’, the racket be­comes ‘in­cred­i­ble’.

Their bar­ris­ter, Ed­ward Dene­han, said they had no quar­rel with ‘gen­eral’ avi­a­tion use of the air­field, which they ac­cept as a fact of life. But their com­plaints are fo­cused on he­li­copter ma­noeu­vres which oc­cur on a spe­cial train­ing ‘slope’ close by their 2.5-acre gar­den. Mr Peires, also 69, said nor­mal air­craft noise and even the sound of the M25 mo­tor­way blurred into the back­ground. But the chop­pers’ un­pre­dictable ‘hov­er­ing and ‘360’s’ sim­ply could not be blot­ted out.

“It be­comes a sit­u­a­tion where you don’t hear any of the other things go­ing on – just this ac­tiv­ity.

“You have some peace and then you have this shattering noise – it’s not like the smooth sound of a Tri­umph mo­tor­bike.”

Al­though the cou­ple wanted to live out their days at Shep­herd’s Holt, the court heard the noise drove them to put it up for sale just five years af­ter they bought it. Es­tate agents ini­tially sug­gested a £4 mil­lion price tag but Mr and Mrs Peires claim buy­ers were re­peat­edly de­terred by the in­tru­sive howl of he­li­copters.

Tess Daly and Ver­non Kay had been very keen on buy­ing the prop­erty – un­til they stepped out into the gar­den, said Mr Peires.

The celebrity cou­ple were “left hor­ri­fied by the noise” dur­ing their se­cond view­ing and were vis­i­bly shocked, the court heard.

“Tess Daly said later that they loved our house but that they couldn’t live with those he­li­copters”, Mr Peires added. An­other thwarted po­ten­tial buyer was TV sports broad­caster, Gabby Lo­gan.

Mr Peires said he and his wife had va­cated the house so it could be empty for her visit.

But Mrs Lo­gan pulled out of the view­ing and Mr Peires said: “My wife told me she wasn’t com­ing be­cause she’d got to the gate and was put off by the noise”.

He added: “The only ones who were re­ally in­ter­ested were put off by the he­li­copters. We de­cided to stop sell­ing it in the end be­cause it was a lost cause.”

Mr Peires, who made his for­tune in the travel in­dus­try, said they ended up let­ting Shep­herd’s Holt be­tween 2013 and 2015.

And added: “Our main re­quest of the court is to help us live in peace,” he added.

The

aero­drome’s

QC, Richard Har­wood, asked Mr Peires about a June 2013 in­ci­dent in which he al­legedly rang up the air­field and ‘shouted’ at the duty of­fi­cer to ‘re­move’ a he­li­copter.

Mr Peires ex­plained: “I was prob­a­bly in the middle of a game of ten­nis, we were prob­a­bly em­bar­rassed, with our friends hav­ing come to play and not be­ing able to hear any­thing”.

The QC ac­cused Mr Peires of be­ing ‘rather ar­ro­gant’, claim­ing he tried to get he­li­copter fly­ing sched­ules changed to suit his con­ve­nience.

“I don’t agree,” coun­tered the pen­sioner. “I try to be cour­te­ous, but there are times when I be­come ag­i­tated be­cause I don’t feel I’m be­ing taken se­ri­ously, or that I’m be­ing made a fool of.”

Much of the dis­pute in the case boils down to the tim­ing of chopper ma­noeu­vres – with Mr and Mrs Peires claim­ing their peace is reg­u­larly dis­turbed for up to half-an­hour at a time.

How­ever, Mr Har­wood in­sisted that he­li­copter train­ing flights from the aero­drome had been greatly re­duced in re­cent years. Chop­pers only use the train­ing slope so that pi­lots can prac­tise tak­ing off and land­ing, he said.

“This ex­er­cise is car­ried out on av­er­age ap­prox­i­mately 1.5 times a week and is lim­ited to less than 10 min­utes each time,” he told the judge.

A judg­ment is ex­pected to be made next month.

Ver­non Kay and Tess Daly

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