A HUSBAND and wife have failed in a David and Goliath battle with Network Rail to win compensation after selling their prestigious guest house in Goodwick at a knock down price following an increase in nearby railway activity.

They won a judge's sympathy but no compensation.

Denham and Michelle Gregory bought the Ferryboat Inn and the adjoining cottage in April 2005 and by the year 2008/2009 their turnover was peaking at £140,000. They also managed to take it from a Welsh Tourist Board one star rating to a four star rating.

However, business began to fall off and their turnover virtually halved dropping to £74,460 by 2014. One of the factors they blame for this was the increase in railway activity.

In 2011 the Welsh Assembly agreed to fund an increase for three years in rail services from four to 14 journeys a day on the nearby line into Fishguard Harbour.

In addition, Pembrokeshire County Council acquired and carried out work on the nearby railway station which had stood disused for 50 years. The work including refurbishment of the car park, lighting and the redevelopment of the station buildings and the station re-opened on 14 May 2012.

As a result of the changes Mr and Mrs Gregory launched a claim for compensation on the basis that the value of their property had been reduced by noise and vibration caused by the increased use of the line immediately behind their property.

Apart from the regular train services they also argued about the impact of leaf clearing trains during the autumn. They claimed among other things that they suffered stress and sleep deprivation.

They originally bought the property for £310,000 in 2005 and carried out considerable work on it. However, they finally sold it in 2015 for £357,000. They claimed it was worth more.

Now though their claim for £95,000 compensation for having to sell it at less than they considered it was worth – they had reduced the price several times before finding a buyer – has been dismissed by tribunal judge, Peter D McRea.

In dismissing the claim against Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, the judge said he had "considerable sympathy" for Mr and Mrs Gregory, and could "readily understand their frustration at the turn of events".

However, in a complex judgment running to more than 3,000 words he said he could not accept that the increased number of trains had caused a drop in the value of the property.

"Whilst I have no doubt that the claimants were personally affected by the increased number of trains passing the reference property, there is no credible evidence that there was a diminution in value of their interest in the reference property itself," he said.

He continued: "It follows from the above that, sadly for the claimants, the claim must be dismissed.