Carleton Rode fishery owner loses £5.5m High Court case against neighbours
- Credit: Archant
A Carleton Rode fishery owner who sued his neighbours for £5.5m after claiming they had ruined his business has lost his High Court case.
Bryn Chetwynd and wife Joanna, who run Fen Lakes Fishery, blamed neighbours Barry and Caroline Tunmore for killing hundreds of fish after digging four lakes without planning permission.
But despite judge John Reddihough calling the Tunmores 'most unimpressive witnesses' who had 'clearly lied' to planners, the Chetwynds lost their case.
The couple claimed water levels in their six fishing ponds had been badly affected by the Tunmores' lakes, something the judge said they failed to prove.
He said two of the Tunmores' lakes had 'little, if any, impact' on water levels in the Chetwynds' ponds and one had 'no impact at all'.
Only one of the ponds had a 'very limited impact' and that did not explain the reduced water levels or the Chetwynds' dead fish, he said.
The judge said the Tunmores had lied to planners when they claimed all their lakes had been excavated by 1995.
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The Chetwynds' lawyers said their neighbours' lakes - with a total area of more than 8,000 square metres - had been dug between 1999 and 2006.
The lakes were excavated without planning consent, but South Norfolk District Council granted permission retrospectively in 2008.
However, that was quashed by the High Court two years later, after ex-Army officer Mr Chetwynd mounted a successful High Court challenge to the council's decision.
Judge Reddihough said the Tunmores 'must have known' that approval was needed and had 'acted dishonestly' by failing to apply for planning consent when they should have done.
They had ultimately failed to win approval for the lakes and the council was taking enforcement action against them.
However, the judge ruled that, 'unfortunately for Mr and Mrs Chetwynd', their claim for an injunction and millions in damages could not succeed.
The High Court hearing of the case lasted two weeks.
Fen Lakes Fishery is an area of fenland along the banks of the River Tas, which is a designated Country Wildlife Site.