Doubtless many of our clients will have heard about the events at Colehill Cricket Club earlier this year, which was forced to halt all adult matches following complaints from residents, who live near the ground, about balls being hit for six into their properties.
Youth cricket was allowed to continue as boys and girls couldn’t hit a six to the same distance as adults. The cricket balls were landing in gardens and causing damage causing two of the club’s neighbours to make complaints, one of whom claimed damages (compensation) for broken roof tiles. Consequently the club was facing rising insurance premiums and feared being sued by neighbours. Fortunately, £35,000 has been raised to erect safety netting 26 foot high around the grounds of containing the cricket pitches, which has solved the problem.
Flying cricket balls being a nuisance to neighbours of cricket grounds is not a new phenomenon. In 1977 a Mrs Miller sought an injunction (an order to cease) to prevent cricket being played at the Lintz Cricket Club for the same reason. Like Colehill, Lintz was a very long-established cricket ground and cricket had been played there for over 70 years. Mrs. Miller had bought a house near the cricket ground and cricket balls were being hit over the neighbouring houses, one of which was hers, but in 1976 the club erected a higher fence which reduced the numbers of cricket balls landing in gardens drastically.
The flying cricket balls constituted a private nuisance in law and the law is concerned with protecting an occupier’s rights as regards the unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of the occupier’s land. Mrs Miller was able to bring a claim for nuisance as she had an interest in the land in which she alleged her use or enjoyment had been unreasonably interfered with. She also had a right to enjoy the facility being deprived, a garden devoid of flying cricket balls, as were the neighbours of Colehill Cricket Club.
The Miller case also had a happy outcome in that the court did not grant an injunction, so cricket could continue to be played, but the defendants, members of the Cricket Club, were found to be liable in both negligence and nuisance.
Nuisance can take many forms besides flying cricket balls such as flooding, nuisance from smells and encroachment from tree branches or roots. In law the occupier of land owes a duty of care to a neighbouring occupier as regards the hazard on the land, be it natural or man-made. The landowner will be liable for nuisances as long as he knew, or ought to have known, of the hazard and failed to take reasonable steps to bring the nuisance to an end.
If you consider you have been adversely affected by any form of nuisance by your neighbours please contact HGW for professional advice. You need to know your rights and HGW Solicitors -Your Friend-In-Law- can advise and assist you to bring the nuisance you are having to deal with to an end.
Please click here to fill out our contact form, and one of our experienced solicitors will promptly get in touch with you to address your concerns and provide guidance.