West Law Report

Householders get no tax relief for extra road noise

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on October 19, 2008

From The Times
October 9, 2008
Householders get no tax relief for extra road noise
Court of Appeal

Published October 9, 2008

Chilton-Merryweather v Hunt and Others

Before Lord Justice Waller, Lord Justice Rix and Lord Justice Dyson

Judgment September 19, 2008

An increase in noise and pollution caused by growth in the volume of traffic on a motoway was not sufficient to justify a reduction in the council tax for neighbouring properties.

The Court of Appeal so stated when allowing the appeal of Mr Ian Chilton-Merryweather, council tax listing officer in Bolton, against a decision of Mr Justice Collins in the Administrative Court ([2007] EWHC 3190 (Admin)) to uphold a decision by the Manchester North Valuation Tribunal on June 8, 2006 in favour of four householders, Mr T. D. Hunt, Mr G. W. Bradley, Mr Robert Gibson and Mr Jack Crompton, to reduce the valuation band of their properties for council tax purposes.

The householders lived in bungalows in a street parallel to the northern carriageway of the M61 which ran at an elevated level higher than the bungalows. The judge had agreed with the tribunal that the noise and pollution constituted a change in the physical state of the dwelling’s locality for the purposes of section 24(10) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. Mr Timothy Mould, QC and Mr Daniel Kolinsky for the listing officer; Mr Timothy Buley as advocate to the court; the householders did not appear and were not represented.

LORD JUSTICE RIX said that a narrow construction should be given to the relevant statutory provision.

The listing officer was properly concerned only with the essential fabric and character of the house and locality, not with other matters which went to their enjoyment, use, occupation or activity, such as, the particular degree of traffic to be met on a particular date.

It was contrary to the policy of the 1992 Act to permit alteration in the list for a reason which, although it manifested itself locally, was in truth part of a nationwide trend.

Lord Justice Waller and Lord Justice Dyson agreed. Solicitors: Solicitor, Revenue and Customs; Treasury Solicitor.

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