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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Civil and Commercial - Construction and Property


This was a claim in nuisance against a Town Council by a resident whose property, on the boundary of public sports fields, was flooded.


The land was originally agricultural and had a significant slope towards the boundary, which was bounded by a hedge and ditch. Over the years the ditch filled in with no particular effect. However, complaints were made by visiting teams that the slope across the football pitch made skilful play impossible and so the Town Council arranged for the farmer to level the pitch area. The neighbouring resident alleged that in doing so the land drainage system was damaged although no-one could say for sure that any existed in the first place. Whether it did or not, one certain fact is that the resident's property was flooded on three occasions (by which time the insurers had refused further cover) from run-off water travelling onto and through their property. They took several videos of the gushing water and maintained that it had never happened prior to the regrading works.
The Town Council were insured against the claim in nuisance but not for the cost of new drainage works. They had no money to do the works and so became intransigent.


In the end the resident agreed a figure for damages with the Town Council's insurers that was sufficient to allow them to pass some of the compensation money back to the Town Council on condition that they carried out the necessary drainage works. This had the double benefit of avoiding future problems with the adjoining properties and rectifying a waterlogged football pitch. A creative solution that could not have been achieved in court.

Mediator:David Richbell