‘Green guru’ sues fish and chip restaurant for £40,000 over ‘nauseating’ smells which she claims are destroying her Cotswolds eco-tourism retreat
- Diana Ray transformed a riverside cottage in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water
- But she claims her holiday let plans ruined by frying stench from De La Haye’s
- She now wants compensation and to remove air conditioning units and chillers
A so-called green guru is suing a fish and chip shop for £40,000 at the High Court over ‘nauseating’ smells, which she claims are destroying her Cotswolds eco-tourism retreat.
Diana Ray created a ‘beautiful’ eco-centre and show garden, complete with a lawn on the roof, around a four-bed riverside cottage in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water, to show how homes can be made over and run in a green-friendly way.
But her hopes of turning the cottage into a ‘tranquil’ eco-friendly holiday let for earth-conscious travellers were ruined, she claims, by the stench of frying fish and chips in De La Haye’s – known locally as ‘the Windrush restaurant’ – next door.
Mrs Ray, who is in her early 60s, says the odour was so overpowering that it could be smelled inside her cottage, a 20-year labour of love for the green-conscious homeowner, making it impossible to rent for holidays.
Noise and smell from next-door only ended when the restaurant was closed by last year’s lockdown, but Mrs Ray fears it could reopen at any time and is fighting in the High Court to prevent it ruining her business.
She is suing for court orders which would allow her to go into the restaurant and dismantle and remove mechanical air conditioning units and chillers, as well as more than £40,000 to compensate her for her losses while the expanded restaurant was up and running.
Diana Ray created a ‘beautiful’ eco-centre and show garden, complete with a lawn on the roof, around a four-bed riverside cottage in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water, to show how homes can be made over and run in a green-friendly way
Her hopes of turning the cottage into a ‘tranquil’ eco-friendly holiday let for earth-conscious travellers were ruined, she claims, by the stench of frying fish and chips in De La Haye’s – known locally as ‘the Windrush restaurant’ – next door
According to advertising online, Mrs Ray had run the property as The Living Green Centre for years, a shop and show garden where people could be inspired into remaking their own homes in an eco-friendly style.
By 2017, she had decided to branch out into holiday lets, describing the cottage in marketing material as ‘a little bit of heaven where people and the planet can flourish’.
Each room was kitted out with eco-friendly features, while the house was powered by solar panels, with rain-catching devices in the garden and a green roof.
However, at about the same time, the restaurant next door – which was known locally as ‘the Windrush Restaurant’ and had variously been a bakery, ice cream kiosk, pizzeria, fish and chip shop and cafe – was expanded, taking over a neighbouring newsagent.
The work involved the installation of ventilation flues, several air conditioning units, metal flues and a large detached refrigeration unit, which Mrs Ray says caused intolerable noise in her cottage, known as Kevinscot.
Together with the sickening smell of cooking, it meant she had to scrap her plans and is now suing the restaurant’s owner, a Jersey company called Windrush Riverside Properties Ltd, for an injunction.
Writing in court papers, her barrister Gordon Wignall said the noise of the machinery, which went on until late at night during peak season, meant windows could not be opened in the cottage.
‘As to odours, these are variable, but could be nauseating in extent and experienced within the house as well as in the garden,’ he continued.
‘Odours were similar to smells of frying onions, oil, chips and baking, greasy or roasting meat, or of fish.
‘The configuration of the buildings at Kevinscot is such as to make it difficult for odours to disperse.
Mrs Ray had run the property as The Living Green Centre for years, a shop and show garden where people could be inspired into remaking their own homes in an eco-friendly style, before branching out into holiday lets
‘The odour emissions…included cigarette smoke from members of staff. There were believed to be about 10 members of staff living at the property.
‘The noise dominated the noise environment at Kevinscot and the windows of the house could not be opened without significantly increasing the loss of amenity, by reason of noise.
‘The noise of the refrigeration unit and differences in its sound activities, probably from its motor going on and off, were noticeable during the night.’
Mrs Ray says she was unable to market Kevinscot as a holiday let and instead rented it to a member of her family.
And it was only restrictions introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year which put a stop to the noise and smell, says Mr Wignall.
The ‘tranquillity’ of the cottage, with a walled garden, and its position close to the village green and Cotswold Motor Museum had been selling points of Kevinscot, Mr Wignall added, making it impossible to market as she had intended.
‘The properties are located in the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water Conservation area, Bourton-on-the-Water being a quiet and picturesque town in the Cotswolds and this area being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,’ he said.
‘The River Windrush meanders past both properties and the village green is nearby. The nature and character of the area is one of tranquility, albeit that it is popular with visitors and it has a number of other food outlets and shops.’
However, Mrs Ray fears that, with all of the equipment still in place, the restaurant could start up again at any time and is asking a judge to make orders to prevent the noise and smell she says blighted Kevinscot before the lockdown.
‘Mrs Ray can have no reason to suppose that, with its current mechanical plant in place, the restaurant business will not start up again in the near future and cause further nuisance, for instance if it is used solely for takeaway purposes,’ says her barrister.
Diana Ray is suing for court orders which would allow her to go into the restaurant and dismantle and remove mechanical air conditioning units and chillers, as well as more than £40,000 to compensate her for her losses while the expanded restaurant was up and running
‘By reason of the foregoing, Mrs Ray is entitled to and claims an injunction prohibiting the continuance of the nuisance and the removal of mechanical plant and a declaration that she is entitled to abate the nuisance, together with the costs of and occasioned by abatement.’
She also wants a declaration that she or her contractors are entitled to enter the property themselves and remove the items, with the restaurant owner having to foot the bill, the barrister added.
‘Should the Windrush Restaurant re-commence and Mrs Ray’s current tenants leave, it will be very difficult to find new tenants willing to tolerate the nuisance, save at a very discounted rent,’ he said.
As well as an injunction ordering removal of the machinery and the end of the ‘nuisance,’ Mrs Ray is claiming over £40,000 damages, including nearly £30,000 for the lost income she says she could have earned from holidaymakers.
Mrs Ray’s claim papers were filed at the High Court last month, but a defence to the action by restaurant owner Windrush Riverside Properties Ltd is not yet available from the court.
Source: Read Full Article