Couple claim noisy neighbours put celebs off buying their home

The Peires say the Bickerton Aerodrome has 'blighted their happiness'

Couple say noise put Tess Daly off buying their home

A super-rich couple who said "shattering" helicopter noise stymied their hopes of selling their £4m home to Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Tess Daly, will just have to live with the racket after a court ruling.

Norman Peires and his wife Lorna said the nightmare din of chopper blades coming from Buckinghamshire's Bickerton's Aerodrome blighted their happiness and slashed the value of their luxury home.

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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 landing and taking off just 58 metres from the couple's home.

Credits: PA

Tess Daly and Vernon Kay were put off by the noise of the helicopters at the nearby aerodrome

"I found the noise excruciating in the garden and clearly noticeable to a significant degree within the rooms.

"It was simply impossible to have any kind of conversation or do any kind of activity in the gardens when the helicopters were there".

Now, however, the judge's ruling has been reversed by the Court of Appeal in a decision which leaves Mr and Mrs Peires powerless to stop the noise.

The Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, ruled that the Civil Aviation Act 1982 made the helicopter flights immune from legal action.

The couple complained about the aerodome's use of a slope just a hedgerow away from their home for pilot training.

But Sir Terence said such exercises were a "mandatory part of the training skills to obtain a helicopter pilot's licence."

Landing and taking off manoeuvres on the slope were "conducted in accordance with normal aviation practice", he added.

Credits: Getty

The super-rich couple say it is impossible to enjoy time in the garden because of the racket

Mr and Mrs Peires last year won an injunction against the aerodrome, restricting it to only two 15-minute weekly training sessions on the slope.

The racket was so dreadful that Mr Justice Smith said he would have awarded Mrs Peires, who brought the case, £583,000 in compensation.

But the return of peace and quiet to her home was more important to her than the money, the court heard.

The judge said of Mrs Peires: "Her approach has been one of reasonable restraint; the aerodrome's approach regrettably has not been the same".

And, urging the operators of the 100-year-old airfield to listen to her concerns in future, he added: "This is just plain good neighbourly conduct".

The couple ploughed £1.5million into revamping Shepherds Holt soon after they bought it for £1.275 million in 2006.

And Mrs Peires, 69, told the judge: "We made that house exactly the way we wanted it. We wanted to live there for ever".

Credits: Google

The couple say the noise from nearby Bickerton's Aerodrome has blighted their lives

But their dreams soured when relaxing in their 2.5-acre garden and afternoon tennis parties had to compete with the roar of helicopters from the aerodrome.

Mrs Peires said the "loud drumming and shattering" penetrated her drawing room and master bedroom even with the double-glazed windows tight shut.

They ended up putting Shepherd's Holt on the market just five years after they bought it as the noise was "driving us crazy", she added.

Estate agents initially suggested a £4 million price tag but Mr and Mrs Peires said punters 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, Mr Peires told the judge.

The celebrity couple were "left horrified by the noise" during their second viewing and were visibly shocked.

Credits: Nev Ayling

Last year Norman and Lorna Peires were delighted when a judge told the aerodrome to cut the noise

"Tess Daly said later that they loved our house but that they couldn't live with those helicopters", the businessman added.

Another potential buyer put off by the helicopters was TV sports broadcaster, Gabby Logan, the court heard.

And Mr Peires told the judge: "Our main request of the court is to help us live in peace."

But Sir Terence today pointed out that 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.

Credits: Nev Ayling

But the Court of Appeal have overturned the decision, meaning they can't do anything about the noise

Mr Justice Smith had ruled that the immunity only applied to aircraft, including commercial jets, over-flying private property.

But Sir Terence said that, if that was right, the immunity would not even cover a captive balloon or kite.

Flights did not have to be carried out "reasonably" for the immunity to apply, added the judge, who was sitting with Lord Justice Underhill and Lady Justice King.

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.


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