Guest house owners lose David and Goliath battle against Network Rail

21 October 2019 by
Guest house owners lose David and Goliath battle against Network Rail

A husband and wife have failed in a David and Goliath battle with Network Rail to win compensation after selling their Goodwick guest house at a knock-down price following an increase in railway activity.

Denham and Michelle Gregory had bought the Ferryboat Inn and adjoining cottage in April 2005 and taken it from a one- to a four-star rating under the Welsh Tourist Board, with the business' turnover peaking at £140,000 in 2008/09.

However, in 2014 turnover virtually halved to £74,460 with the couple blaming an increase in activity along a railway line behind their property. In 2011 services had increased from four to 14-a-day with works also taking place to reopen a nearby station, which had been unused for 50 years.

The Gregorys said the noise and vibration caused by increased use of the line had reduced the value of their property, as well as causing stress and sleep deprivation.

They originally bought the property for £310,000 in 2005 and carried out considerable work. They sold it in 2015 for £357,000 but claimed it was worth more.

The couple had sought £95,000 in compensation, but this was dismissed by tribunal judge, Peter D McRea, despite him having "considerable sympathy" for the Gregorys, adding he could "readily understand their frustration at the turn of events."

The judge did however say he could not accept that the increased number of trains had caused a drop in the value of the property. "Whilst I have no doubt that the claimants were personally affected by the increased number of trains passing the reference property, there is no credible evidence that there was a diminution in value of their interest in the reference property itself."

He continued: "It follows from the above that, sadly for the claimants, the claim must be dismissed."

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