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Luxury flat owners win privacy case over London's Tate gallery viewing platform

BRITAIN-ARTS-TATE:Luxury flat owners win privacy case over London's Tate gallery viewing platform
BRITAIN-ARTS-TATE:Luxury flat owners win privacy case over London's Tate gallery viewing platform Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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LONDON -Residents of a luxury London block who are trying to stop visitors at the neighbouring Tate Modern art gallery peering into their glass-walled apartments won their privacy case at the United Kingdom's Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The owners of four flats in the nearby Neo Bankside development took the Tate, one of Britain's top tourist attractions, to court after the gallery opened an extension in 2016 featuring a panoramic platform on its top floor, which gives visitors clear views of the inside of some flats.

They applied to London's High Court for an injunction requiring the Tate to prevent its visitors from viewing their flats from the viewing platform, but their case was dismissed in 2019 and they lost an appeal the following year.

But, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned those verdicts and allowed the flat owners' appeal by a 3-2 majority.

Announcing the court's decision, Judge George Leggatt said that the "visual intrusion" of people looking into the flats from the Tate's viewing platform was "a clear case of nuisance".

He added: "The Tate is liable to the claimants under the law of nuisance. To decide on the appropriate remedy, the case will be sent back to the High Court".

In the court's written ruling, Leggatt said the flats were "under constant observation" from the platform, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, some of whom take photographs and post them on social media.

"It is not difficult to imagine how oppressive living in such circumstances would feel for any ordinary person - much like being on display in a zoo," the judge said.

The flat owners’ lawyer, Natasha Rees, said in a statement that her clients were pleased and relieved, adding that they looked forward to working with the gallery to find a practical solution which protected all their interests.

The Tate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gallery attracted more than six million visitors a year, and vies with the British Museum to be the country's most popular attraction, according to figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

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