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MISERY FAMILY WIN RIGHT TO STAY IN NORTHAMPTON HOUSE

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court ref no: LTA 96/7336/H ...
court ref no: LTA 96/7336/H

A family facing eviction for allegedly making their neighbours' lives a misery have won the first round of an appeal court battle for the right to stay.

Robert and Margaret Lovatt were given seven days to quit their Northampton council house in September last year for 'causing a nuisance and annoyance' to neighbours on the Spencer estate.

But the couple, who have seven sons, four aged between seven and 14 living with them, were given temporary leave to stay in their home after they announced they were planning to fight the eviction order.

The civil court of appeal ruled the couple had an 'arguable case' for overturning the eviction order made by Judge Alan Whitehurst in Northampton county court on September 21 last year.

Counsel for the Lovatts, Mr Edmund Farrell, told the court he was challenging the order on the ground it had been wrong in law because most of the activities complained of had allegedly been committed by the couple's three elder sons on other parts of the Spencer estate.

They, he said, were not grounds for granting the order because in law only activities relating to the couple's home which affected their immediate neighbours could constitute nuisance or annoyance.

Granting the couple, who are on legal aid, leave to appeal lord Justice Phillips, sitting with lord Justice Mummery, agreed there was an 'arguable case'.

He said: 'The order for possession was granted on the ground that members of the Lovatts' family residing in the dwelling house had been guilty of conduct which was a nuisance and annoyance to neighbours.

'It was essentially running riot by the three eldest sons over what Judge Whitehurst described as 'a considerable part of the estate'.

'The Lovatts seek to challenge it on the grounds nuisance and annoyance must be caused by conduct taking place on the property and the neighbours must be in sufficient proximity to the premises.

'It seems to us that these are points of law which are reasonably arguable and leave to appeal is granted.'

No date for the full appeal hearing has yet been set but outside court the couple's solicitor Mr Benjamin Jowett said the family had been given leave to remain in their home until their case is decided.

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