Wildtree Hotels Ltd and others v Harrow London Borough Council: HL 22 Jun 2000

The compensation which was payable for disturbance, when works were carried out on land acquired compulsorily, did not extend to the damage caused by noise dust and vibration arising from the works. Where however damage could be brought within the section, it did not cease to be recoverable because the interruption was only temporary. Lord Hoffmann said: ‘the term ‘injuriously affected’, connotes ‘injuria’ that is to say, damage which would have been wrongful but for the protection afforded by statutory powers . . In practice this means that a claimant has to show that but for the statute he would have had an action for damages for public or private nuisance.’ Lord Hoffmann summarised the claim for the effects of obstruction of access due to closing of local roads: ‘The owners of the hotel (‘the claimants’) say that during the period of the works they were subjected to various forms of interference with their use and enjoyment of the hotel. Hoardings were erected which obscured the hotel or prevented or restricted access by themselves and their customers. For long periods the roads and pavements leading to the hotel were totally or partially obstructed or closed. The works caused considerable noise, dust and vibration. All this was very detrimental to business.’
Lord Hoffmann: ‘Section 68 gave compensation for injurious affection caused by the ‘execution’ of the works. In Hammersmith and City Railway Co v Brand LR 4 HL 171 the House of Lords (with Lord Cairns dissenting) decided that this meant that there could be compensation only for the effects of the construction of the railway and not for its operation. If an embankment unreasonably obstructed the claimant’s light or access, he could claim compensation. But he could not claim for what would otherwise have been a nuisance caused by the noise, vibrations or smell of passing trains.’


Lord Steyn Browne-Wilkinson Lord Nolan Lord Hoffmann Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough


Times 27-Jun-2000, Gazette 13-Jul-2000, [2000] UKHL 70, [2000] 3 All ER 289, [2000] EG 80, [2000] NPC 71, [2000] 2 EGLR 5, [2000] BLGR 547, (2001) 81 P and CR 9, [2001] 2 AC 1, [2000] 3 WLR 165, [2000] RVR 235


House of Lords, House of Lords, Bailii


Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 10


England and Wales


Appeal fromWildtree Hotels Ltd And Others v London Borough of Harrow CA 11-Jun-1998
Temporary, if damaging disturbance which fell short of actual damage to a neighbour’s land and which was caused by works executed on land which had been purchased compulsorily, was not normally claimable and not by the owner of only a temporary . .
CitedAndreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd CA 1938
The plaintiff had a hotel. The rest of the island had been acquired by the defendant which was demolishing and rebuilding the other properties. The plaintiff complained, and the judge found, that by reason of the operations, which involved noise and . .
CitedHammersmith and City Railway Co v Brand HL 13-Jul-1869
In the absence of negligence, damage caused by operations authorised by statute is not compensatable unless the statute expressly so provides. The wording of the sections, and in particular section 6 of the Railways etc Act, only entitled a claimant . .

Cited by:

CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedWestminster City Council v Ocean Leisure Limited CA 21-Jul-2004
The claimant company owned property next to land which had been acquired to build a new bridge across the Thames. It sought compensation for disturbance to its business from the works.
Held: The state of the law was complicated and . .
CitedWiltshire County Council v Crest Estates Ltd. and others CA 5-Aug-2005
The builders had agreed as part of the planning process to indemnify the council against all claims incidental to the carrying out of the works for which permission was given. The council had to compulsorily purchase land, and sought repayment from . .
CitedMoto Hospitality Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport CA 26-Jul-2007
The company sought damages to its business on a motorway service station when works closed an access road.
Held: The Secretary of State’s appeal succeeded. A claim for compensation under section 10 had not been established, at least in respect . .
CitedTransport for London (London Underground Ltd) v Spirerose Ltd HL 30-Jul-2009
Compulsory Purchase Compensation – Land As it Is
The House considered the basis of calculation of compensation on the compulsory purchase of land without planning permission, but where permission would probably be granted. The appellant challenged the decision which had treated the probability as . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Damages

Updated: 28 May 2022; Ref: scu.90503