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Milford Haven: Legal battle over shed on wheels in court



THE OWNER and occupier of the residence known as Pill Priory, in Lower Priory, Milford Haven was in court last week (May 9) to argue that a shed that he built without planning permission was not a building, but a movable object.

The argument is that by putting it on wheels, James Kershaw had created a chatel and not a property subject to planning rules.

At Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court representatives from the Council said: “Pill Priory is a medieval priory. It is a highly sensitive. It is designated as a Grade 2* listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. These designations denote that the property is nationally important.”

Kershaw, 39, who runs a gardening business, is accused of the offence of breaching the Enforcement Notice dated 26 September 2016 contrary to section 179 (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

In court, both parties agree that in 2015 the defendant constructed a shed in the garden at Pill Priory without the benefit of planning permission.

When the Council became aware of the shed, they said, they asked him to remove it. He refused. In these circumstances, the Council had little choice, they say, but to serve the notice to require the removal of the shed.

The court heard that Kershaw then appealed the notice. He argued that the notice ought to be quashed as the shed is not a building and so the breach of planning control has been mis-described on the face of the notice; and that he ought to be granted planning permission retrospectively for it.

But the council said it suspects that the defendant made the adaptions to the shed after the first appearance in the Magistrates’ Court “when he realised the serious legal position in which he found himself.”

This is something that Kershaw denied in court, supported by a witness, Mr Dai Garland, who said that he assisted in the alterations long before the legal proceedings had commenced.

In its skeleton argument, barrister for the Council, Jack Smyth of No.5 chambers wrote: “The fact that the shed is lightweight (made of plywood and ship lap) and no larger than the average static caravan is neither here nor there. Not all buildings need be big. Lots of buildings are small (such as a modest greenhouse or wendy-house). It is denied that the adaptation of the shed transforms it from a building to a chattel.

Defiant: James Kershaw

He went on: “Even if the defendant is right that the shed is no longer a building, the fact that it was a building when the notice was served and scrutinised by the Inspector does not render the notice a nullity. Whatever label one attaches to it (“shed
“building”; “structure”; “hut”), we are talking about the same wooden “thing”.

“The label does not constitute a deficiency sufficiently serious to make a notice bad on its face.

“Even if the defendant is right that the shed is no longer a building, he could have demolished it as required by the notice. It is not accepted that this action was impossible.

The Council barrister went on in his report to say: “The Court may be impressed by the creativity and imagination displayed by the
defendant (and those acting on his behalf).

“But, in truth, the legal argument advanced by him is little more than semantic sophistry. It provides no defence to the summons. If he had simply removed the shed as he was required to do, we would not find ourselves here.

“Whatever the legal “gloss” placed on the defendant’s argument, it is contrived and unconvincing. The Court is invited to dismiss the argument and find the charge proven.”


In his submissions, barrister for the defence Mr Matthew Graham Paul of Civitas Chambers wrote: “Where a unit is designed to be mobile, and in particular where it has its own wheels, the Courts have tended to find it lacks permanence. In Measor v. Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Robin Purchas QC (a specialist in planning law) citing Barvis and Elitestone found there were ample grounds for his conclusion that the caravans which were the subject of the case did not constitute ‘buildings’ within [planning law].

“In the event that the Court disagrees that the adaptation of the shed so that it is not a building discharges the defendant’s obligations in complying with the notice (i.e. that it does not amount to ‘demolition’), it should nevertheless dismiss the charge because the Enforcement Notice is a nullity as it refers to a ‘building’.

“Secondly, if the shed was not a building on 12th February 2018 James Kershaw was in no position to demolish a building, as the Enforcement Notice purported to require. The action required by the EN was impossible, which has also been held to constitute a defence to failing to comply with the requirements of an Enforcement Notice by rendering it a nullity.”

Following lengthy legal submissions the judge decided to reserve judgement until next month.

The case was adjourned until 14th June 2019 for District Judge Chris James to deliver his judgement at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court.


Crabb backs veterans of Irish Troubles



VETERANS of the Northern Irish Troubles have been backed by Preseli MP Stephen Crabb during votes in the House of Commons.

In the absence of a functioning administration in Northern Ireland, Members of Parliament have been voting in an effort to keep Northern Ireland running.

Stephen Crabb co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Johnny Mercer MP which passed. The Secretary of State must now report on the options available to allow veterans of the Troubles to assist in a truth recovery process, for the benefit of bereaved families, without fear of prosecution.

Commenting following the vote, Stephen Crabb MP said: “This is a positive step towards ensuring the hounding of veterans is stopped. The proud, local veteran community, along with myself, have been deeply troubled by the ongoing pursuit of current and former British Soldiers for actions carried out while under orders on active service.

“I have made the point previously to Ministers that we risk a serious breach of trust with our Armed Forces by opening the door to such prosecutions. The pressures placed on a solder in conflict situations are enormous and it cannot be right that actions carried out in these circumstances are re-opened decades later by people with no understanding of what happened on the ground.“

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Identical ‘call-out’ within three days for Fishguard RNLI lifeboat



FISHGUARD RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on Thursday evening 18 July to the very same inflatable dinghy they rescued on Monday July 15

The inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew launched at 8.45pm after the inflatable was reported drifting out to sea from Fishguard harbour. The flimsy inflatable and the young men onboard were taken under tow back to the area of Goodwick beach and they were again spoken to regarding the dangers of inflatable craft. On this occasion there was an off-shore wind and an ebbing tide which potentially presented much more dangerous conditions for the persons onboard.

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Rosslare ready to go it alone



THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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