A couple are suing their next door neighbours for allegedly shattering the rural “tranquillity” of their country home with a multi-million-pound fleet of racing cars.
Michael and Marilyn Blackwell claim Paul and Selina Bailey’s collection of more than 50 supercars, including a McLaren P1, a Ferrari LaFerrari and a Porsche 918 Spyder, are being kept at the property in Hambleton unlawfully, and that their noise is creating an “annoyance”.
The Blackwells, who sold the land on which the Baileys’ house is built to them, have issued a High Court writ asking for damages and an injunction. They claim that the Baileys’ car collection has put them in breach of conditions that they imposed before the property was sold.
The Blackwells run a glamping site and sold a house and land next to their home to the Baileys for £675,000 in 2005. The Baileys - who pocketed £28m when they sold their Peterborough-based teleconferencing business Worldwide Group in 2012 - went on to build their dream home, which they called Serenity, on the plot.
Peter Petts, the Blackwells’ barrister, describes their home in the writ. He says the property “benefits from the tranquillity of the location and extensive picturesque views.”
But he goes on to claim that the “prestige cars” being kept at the property next door are blighting the Blackwells’ idyll, and further, are there unlawfully. The barrister claims the cars are creating “an annoyance to the claimants” and that their presence “is detrimental to the amenity” of the land owned by the Blackwells.
Mr Petts further alleges that Mr Bailey is “carrying on the trade of supplying prestige cars for hire” at the property “personally, or under the guise” of his company, Horsepower Racing (UK) Ltd, something which the multi-millionaire couple deny.
The writ states that when the Blackwells sold the land and house to the Baileys, the sale contract was subject to legal clauses, banning them from carrying on “any trade, business or manufacture upon the property.” They were also bound by the contract of sale “not at any time to do, or cause, permit or suffer to be done upon the property anything which may or may become a nuisance annoyance danger or detriment” to their own land.
Mr Petts claims the couple are breaching the legal covenants imposed at the time of sale, by carrying on a supercar hire business “wholly or partly from the property.”
He also states that, through their solicitors, the Baileys have insisted that “although over 50 supercars were stored at the property, they were not used for business purposes.”
But Mr Petts goes on to claim that he has high-profile evidence that the cars are being hired out from the Baileys’ home. He says “photographs of Mr and Mrs Bailey’s cars” were recently seen in press articles “reporting the filming of the latest James Bond film at Blenheim Palace,” and adds that car transporters collected 16 cars from the property just prior to the filming and returned them just afterwards.
The writ also claims that Mrs Bailey runs a wedding planning business from the property, again in breach of the covenant in the sale contract, and that the website for her business, Serenity Weddings, “also shows the defendant’s cars being used at several weddings.”
Setting out details of the row between the wealthy neighbours, the writ states: “In November last year Mr and Mrs Blackwell’s solicitors wrote to Mr and Mrs Bailey requiring that they undertake to cease carrying on the business on the property. In December last year the Baileys’ solicitors responded that they “are not running a business from the property” (but that they) “in their private capacities, own a collection of supercars.”
“In February this year, the Blackwells’ solicitors wrote (another letter) suggesting that the defendants may like to reconsider their position, in light of the evidence of the use of their cars in the filming of James Bond at Blenheim Palace.
“In their response, the Baileys reiterated ‘there is and will be no business activity carried on from the home address’”.
“Mr and Mrs Blackwell believe that the defendants will continue to breach their covenants and commit further breaches unless restrained by the court,” says the writ.
Mr Petts went on to say that the Blackwells want injunctions to “restrain the defendants from carrying on any business at the property and using the property other than as a single private dwelling with a garage.”
The barrister said the Blackwells also want their neighbours to remove a galvanised steel horse enclosure and part of a paddock fence from their land, and to take down one of their two large garage blocks, which house a total of 34 cars.
The Blackwells say they have suffered a “diminution” in the value of their own land, as well as “loss of amenity” and increased maintenance costs on their access road, due to the actions of their neighbours.
The amount of damages being sought was not specified in the writ.
Mr and Mrs Bailey’s defence was not available from the court and the contents of the writ have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge.