Diana Ray said she created a "beautiful" eco-centre (Image: Champion News)
Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories
Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice
A "green guru" is suing a a fish and chip restaurant next door by claiming her Cotswolds "dream" has been wrecked by its "nauseating" smells.
Diana Ray said she created a "beautiful" eco-centre and show garden in picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water in order to demonstrate how homes can be made over and run in a green-friendly way.
Her "tranquil" riverside four-bedroom cottage is complete with a lawn on the roof and boasts an eco-friendly holiday let for earth-conscious travellers.
However, she claims the property has been ruined by the stench of frying fish and chips coming from newly expanded restaurant De La Haye's next door to her.
Mrs Ray, who is in her early 60s, says the odour was so overpowering it could be smelled inside her cottage, a 20-year labour of love for the green-conscious homeowner, making it impossible to rent for holidays.
Mrs Ray mowing the roof lawn at her eco-friendly cottage
(Image: Champion News)
Noise and smell from next-door only ended when the restaurant was closed by last year's lockdown, but Mrs Ray fears its reopening and is fighting in the High Court to prevent it ruining her business.
She is reportedly suing for High Court orders which would allow her to go into De La Haye's and dismantle and remove mechanical air conditioning units and chillers, as well as more than £40,000 to compensate her for her losses while the expanded restaurant was up and running.
According to its adverts online, Mrs Ray had run the property as The Living Green Centre for years, a shop and show garden where people could be inspired into remaking their own homes in an eco-friendly style.
By 2017, she had decided to branch out into holiday lets, describing the cottage in marketing material as "a little bit of heaven where people and the planet can flourish".
Each room is kitted out with eco-friendly features, while the house is powered by solar panels, with rain-catching devices in the garden and a green roof.
However, at about the same time, De La Haye's – which is also known locally as "the Windrush Restaurant" and had variously been a bakery, ice cream kiosk, pizzeria, fish and chip shop and cafe – was expanded, taking over a neighbouring newsagent.
Les de la Haye runs the chip shop in the Cotswolds
According to Mrs Ray's claims, the work involved the installation of ventilation flues, several air conditioning units, metal flues and a large detached refrigeration unit, which Mrs Ray says caused intolerable noise in her cottage, known as Kevinscot.
It is alleged that with a 'sickening smell of cooking' she claims she had to scrap her plans and is now suing the restaurant's owner, a Jersey company called Windrush Riverside Properties Ltd.
Writing in court papers, her barrister Gordon Wignall claimed the noise of the machinery, which went on until late at night during peak season, meant windows could not be opened in the cottage.
"As to odours, these are variable, but could be nauseating in extent and experienced within the house as well as in the garden," he continued.
"Odours were similar to smells of frying onions, oil, chips and baking, greasy or roasting meat, or of fish.
"The configuration of the buildings at Kevinscot is such as to make it difficult for odours to disperse.
Mrs Ray says the odour was so overpowering that it could be smelled inside her cottage
(Image: Champion News)
"The odour emissions…included cigarette smoke from members of staff. There were believed to be about 10 members of staff living at the property.
"The noise dominated the noise environment at Kevinscot and the windows of the house could not be opened without significantly increasing the loss of amenity, by reason of noise.
"The noise of the refrigeration unit and differences in its sound activities, probably from its motor going on and off, were noticeable during the night."
Mrs Ray says she was unable to market Kevinscot as a holiday let and instead rented it to a member of her family.
And it was only restrictions introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year that put a stop to the noise and smell, says Mr Wignall.
The "tranquillity" of the cottage, with a walled garden, and its position close to the village green and Cotswold Motor Museum had been selling points of Kevinscot, Mr Wignall added, making it impossible to market as she had intended.
Mrs Ray says she was unable to market Kevinscot as a holiday let
(Image: Champion News)
"The properties are located in the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water Conservation area, Bourton-on-the-Water being a quiet and picturesque town in the Cotswolds and this area being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," he said.
"The River Windrush meanders past both properties and the village green is nearby. The nature and character of the area is one of tranquility, albeit that it is popular with visitors and it has a number of other food outlets and shops."
However, Mrs Ray fears that, with all of the equipment still in place, the restaurant could start up again at any time and is asking a judge to make orders to prevent the noise and smell she says blighted Kevinscot before the lockdown.
"Mrs Ray can have no reason to suppose that, with its current mechanical plant in place, the restaurant business will not start up again in the near future and cause further nuisance, for instance if it is used solely for takeaway purposes," says her barrister.
"By reason of the foregoing, Mrs Ray is entitled to and claims an injunction prohibiting the continuance of the nuisance and the removal of mechanical plant and a declaration that she is entitled to abate the nuisance, together with the costs of and occasioned by abatement."
She also wants a declaration that she or her contractors are entitled to enter the property themselves and remove the items, with the restaurant owner having to foot the bill, the barrister added.
"Should the Windrush Restaurant re-commence and Mrs Ray's current tenants leave, it will be very difficult to find new tenants willing to tolerate the nuisance, save at a very discounted rent," he said.
As well as an injunction ordering removal of the machinery and the end of the "nuisance," Mrs Ray is claiming over £40,000 damages, including nearly £30,000 for the lost income she says she could have earned from holidaymakers.
Mrs Ray's claim papers were filed at the High Court last month, but a defence to the action by restaurant owner Windrush Riverside Properties Ltd is not yet available from the court.