Law

Study Notes

Key Case | Coventry v Lawrence (2014) | Nuisance – Defence of Planning Permission

Level:
A Level, BTEC Level 3
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

The existence of planning permission does not automatically prevent in a claim in nuisance, though it may be relevant to the discussion of reasonableness. In terms of remedies: whilst an injunction is the usual remedy in nuisance cases, the court should not automatically award an injunction without considering the possibility of damages too.

CASE SUMMARY

Claimant: Bungalow residents

Defendant: David Coventry trading as Moto-Land UK Limited

Facts: The claimants sought an action in nuisance upon the basis that there was unreasonable noise coming from the defendant’s land as a result of the speedway and other motorsport activities. The stadium had received planning permission in 1975 and specifically permitted the stadium to be used for ‘speedway racing and associated activities’ and continued to receive permanent planning permission for the activities in 1985.

Outcome: Liable

Legal principle: Tt was not defence to say that the claimants had ‘moved to the nuisance.’ Despite the planning permission the actions of the defendant clearly constituted a nuisance. It is not a principle of law that the granting of planning permission removes the rights of a claimant to make a claim in nuisance. The purpose of planning permission is to balance the applicants interests against public interest. This is very different to the interests considered in a case of nuisance. The terms of the planning permission may however be of relevance in a nuisance case, if, for example, there are time limits on the activity.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: DAMAGES FOR NUISANCE

Damages or an injunction can be ordered / awarded upon a finding of nuisance. Injunctions were the most typical remedy but there has been some recent discussion upon this issue by the Supreme Court in Coventry v Lawrence (2014) (as above).

Coventry v Lawrence (2014):

Legal principle: It was not defence to say that the claimants had ‘moved to the nuisance.’ Despite the planning permission the actions of the defendant clearly constituted a nuisance. In cases of nuisance, such as this, the prima facie remedy to which a claimant is entitled is an injunction restricting the continuance of the particular activity. The courts should not readily grant injunctions without considering damages instead.

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