A Young Musician of the Year finalist has won his battle against a council which tried to stop him practising piano in his £5million family home.
James Carrabino, 19, was banned from playing for more than one hour a day thanks to complaints from his neighbour, Joao Baptista, 59, in Kensington, West London.
His parents succeeded in overturning the ban last year, with a judge ruling that the pianist and his younger brother can play for five hours, up until 9pm.
But the council appealed the decision by Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
However, this week James’s banker father Jim Carrabino and his wife Annette were delighted to learn that RBKC has withdrawn the council order and finally ended legal proceedings against them.
James Carrabino (left), 19, was banned from playing for more than one hour a day thanks to complaints from his neighbour, Joao Baptista (right), 59, in Kensington, West London
The Royal College of Music student was forced to shut the piano lid when the Carrabinos were hit with a noise abatement order by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on April 7, 2015.
Mr Baptista complained he was being ‘tortured’ by renditions of classical music.
Mr Baptista, who lived on Scarsdale Villas, told a previous hearing: ‘It was torture, the repetition of piano playing, day after day, again and again.
‘It was a tremendous imposition on us, we could not use the hallway or the study without the deafening sound of piano.’
He added: ‘We had to stop having people over for dinner, it was just awful.
‘We could not even have conversations, even at weekends, we would have to stay away from the house.’
But Mark Dencer, representing the Baptistas, had said that the restrictions were putting the Carrabino boys’ musical education at risk.
He said: ‘We are not talking about a couple of talentless 10 year olds plunking away tunelessly at chopsticks, both are under the auspices of the Royal College of Music.
‘We don’t know why this has suddenly become a problem, maybe because the Baptistas wanted to build a basement extension and my clients the Carrabinos objected and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea refused permission – but maybe not.’
This week James’s banker father Jim Carrabino (left) and his wife Annette (right) were delighted to learn that RBKC has withdrawn the council order and finally ended legal proceedings against them
The Carrabinos, who had previously opposed Mr Baptista’s plans to excavate the ground under his home for an ‘iceberg extension’, successfully challenged the council order last year.
James won the right to practise for five hours a day after District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe said ‘play is absolutely an entitlement’ and ruled that the terms of RBKC’s order ‘were not reasonable’ at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in April 2016.
The legal battle showed no sign of ending when RBKC used council funds to launch an appeal against the decision.
Annette said: ‘My husband and I are delighted that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has withdrawn the notice and its appeals of the judgments in our favour handed down in Magistrates’ Court last year.
‘The Council’s withdrawal of all legal proceedings against us follows a three-year ordeal during which the Council pursued this unnecessary and unwarranted action to severely restrict our children’s ability to play the piano in our family home.’
James was legally represented by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) during the legal proceedings.
ISM chief executive Deborah Annetts said: ‘We are delighted by the news that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has dropped its appeals against the decision to allow our member James Carrabino to practice in his home.
‘This marks the end of three years where attempts have been made to stifle a musician’s activities.
‘This is a success story for the Carrabino family, and excellent news for all musicians who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
‘We are delighted to have played our part as the professional body for musicians in supporting and championing musicians’ rights.’
RBKC have been contacted and are yet to respond.