Court ruling permits ’copter noise near £4m mansion
Strictly presenter backed out of purchase because of disturbance
A their luxury home.
A judge agreed with them last year when he ordered the aerodrome’s operators to cut the noise or pay the couple almost £600,000 in damages.
After visiting the couple’s home – Shepherd’s Holt, a six-bedroom mansion in leafy Denham – Mr Justice Peter Smith said he was shocked by the noise of training helicopters nearby.
Now however, the judge’s ruling has been reversed by the Court of Appeal in a decision ision which leaves Mrr and Mrs Peires powerless ss to stop the noise.
The Master of f the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton,erton, ruled the Civil Aviation Act 1982 made the helicopter flightsts immune from legal action. n.
The couple complained aboutout the aerodome’s use of a slope just a hedgerow away from their home for pilot training.
But Sir Terence ce said such exercises were a “mandatory part of the train- ing skills to obtain a helicopter pilot’s li- cence”. Landing and taking off manoeuvres on the slope were “conducted in accordance with nor normal aviation practice”, he added.
M Mr and Mrs Peires last yea year won an injunction aga against the aerodrome, res restricting it to only two 1515-minute weekly trai training sessions on the slo slope.
M Mr Justice Smith said he would have awarded Mr Mrs Peires, who brought the case, £583,000 in co compensation.
But the return of p peace and quiet to her home was more im important to her than th the money. The couple ploughed £ £1.5m into revamping S Shepherds Holt soon after buying it for £1.28 m million in 2006. But their dreams sou soured when, relaxing in the their 2.5-acre garden, their afternoon tennis parties had to compete with the roar of helicopters.
They ended up putting Shepherd’s Holt on the market just five years after buying it as the noise was “driving us crazy”, Mrs Peires said.
Tess Daly and Vernon Kay had been very keen on buying the property – until they stepped into the garden, Mr Peires told the judge.
“Tess Daly said later they loved our house but they couldn’t live with those helicopters,” the businessman added.
Another potential buyer put off by the noise was sports broadcaster, Gabby Logan, the court heard.
But Sir Terence on April 12 pointed out the Civil Aviation Act rules out trespass and nuisance claims relating to aircraft flights. Subject to height and distance limits, the immunity applies to noise and vibration caused by aircraft on an aerodrome.
Mr Justice Smith had ruled the immunity only applied to aircraft, including commercial jets, over-flying private property.
But Sir Terence, who was sitting with Lord Justice Underhill and Lady Justice King, said flights did not have to be carried out “reasonably” for the immunity to apply.
The training exercises were “normal aviation practice” on an aerodrome and the immunity from legal action therefore applied, he concluded.
The aerodrome’s appeal was allowed and the orders granted in favour of Mr and Mrs Peires were overturned.