Victory for open gardens group

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ORGANISERS of one Dales open gardens are rejoicing after winning a lengthy legal battle against a visitor who damaged his car at the charitable event.

In May 2011, Barry Davison, of Pilsley, near Clay Cross, damaged the underside of his vehicle as he exited the field car park used by visitors to Stanton in Peak’s open gardens event.

Following the incident, Mr Davison sued Stanton Events Group – the club responsible for organising the open gardens – for the £280 it would cost to repair his vehicle.

At the hearing on Wednesday 22 August at Chesterfield County Court, Mr Davison said that while the damage did not cost a fortune it was a ‘matter of principle’ for him to make a claim against the group owing to what he believed was poor advice from parking attendant, David Chapman.

However, the first blow for Mr Davison came when Judge Downton said: “The owner of the vehicle is always responsible for what happens and if they take advice from someone they still have to take full responsibility.”

Further blows came when Judge Downton said that as the field was donated by David Chapman for no cost, the events group were not the legal occupiers and were not responsible for it.

Added to this, Judge Downton explained that as there were attendants supervising the car, the grass had been mowed in the field, and there were disclaimer signs – the organisers had made a ‘reasonable effort’ to ensure the car park was fit for purpose.

Judge Downton said: “On this basis, Mr Davison, I have to dismiss your claim.”

Hilary Campbell, member of Stanton Events Group and Chair at the time of the incident, said: “We are completely elated that the case was dismissed.

“This has really hung over us for the last 18 months and it’s fantastic that none of the money we have raised for charity will have to be used for damages – as it would be quite a big chunk.”