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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.


No action at Cardiff Airport over virus



THERE were no checks or screening at Cardiff airport this morning (Jan 23) as international concern continues to grow about the coronavirus which has killed 17 people and infected hundreds in a central Chinese city.

A Herald journalist landing at 5:30am on a flight from Doha, said that passengers arriving from China or other Southeast Asian were not questioned or screened, despite other airports including Heathrow taking action.

The twice daily Doha flight, which was launched with the help of the Welsh Government two years ago, connects travellers from many destinations from South East Asia, including from China. A connection between Beijing and Cardiff is offered with a 10 hour stop over at Hamad International Airport in Qatar.

The outbreak of the virus is centred on the city of Wuhan. Travellers from Wuhan change at Beijing. At this time of year there is an increased number of travellers between China and the UK due to the Chinese New Year celebrations’

The Guardian reported today (Jan 23) that a sense of panic has spread in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the city of 11 million was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there.

Today, Chinese authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.

Nearby Huanggang also suspended its public bus and railway system by the end of the day.

In Wuhan, it has been reported that supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.

The incubation period for the virus is said to be five days according to experts.

The Welsh Government has been asked for a comment.

Spencer Birns, Chief Commercial Officer at Cardiff Airport, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Cardiff Airport is closely following guidance provided by the relevant authorities in relation to screening procedures for Coronavirus. Port Health advice as of 1200 on 23rd January 2020 is to operate business as usual, with no additional screening. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update our customers as required.

“The safety and security of our team and customers is our number one priority.”

A spokesperson told The Herald that Chinese nationals arriving in Cardiff on international flights are not being asked if they originated in Wuhan despite the crisis.

“We have not been told to do different to normal,” the spokesperson said.

Pictured above: Regular flights: Qatar Airways plane at Cardiff Airport this morning • Peter Sinclair from Milford Haven lives in China and taking precautions

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Last chance to have your say on National Park’s new Local Development Plan



THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is seeking your views, having made amendments to its forthcoming Local Development Plan following the recent Examination Hearing Sessions.

These amendments are called Matters Arising Changes and any comments received will be passed on to the Inspector for consideration.

The relevant documents and representation form are available on the National Park Authority’s website: and in paper format at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre, St Davids and the Authority’s main office in Pembroke Dock.

Copies of the documents are also available for inspection free of charge on publicly accessible computers at local libraries during their normal opening hours.

Representations should be sent by 4.30pm on Friday 13 March 2020, either by email to or in writing to:

Park Direction
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Llanion Park
Pembroke Dock
SA72 6DY.

For further information or assistance, email or call 01646 624800 and ask to speak to someone in the Park Direction Team dealing with the Plan.

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No opt-out for learning about religion, relationships and sexuality



PARENTS will not be able to prevent their children from learning about religion, relationships and sexuality in the new curriculum.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams made the announcement this week, emphasising the need for ‘careful and sensitive implementation’ of the decision.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams told The Herald: “Our responsibility as a government is to ensure that young people, through public education, have access to learning that supports them to discuss and understand their rights and the rights of others.

“It is essential that all young people are provided with access to information that keeps them safe from harm.

“Today’s decision ensures that all pupils will learn about issues such as online safety and healthy relationships.

The announcement was made following an eight-week Welsh Government consultation on ensuring access to the full curriculum, including the teaching of Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) and Religious Education (RE).

Kirsty Williams added: “I recognise this is a sensitive matter and the consultation responses reflected a wide range of views.

“There is clearly a need for us to work with communities and all interested parties in developing the learning and teaching for RSE and RE – this work will be vital to enable everyone to have trust in how the change is implemented.”

The Minister outlined plans for implementation which include the creation of clear guidance, resources and professional learning for schools and the creation of a Faith/BAME Community Involvement Group to hold its first meeting this February.

The group will engage in the development of RSE guidance, develop a shared understanding of the new curriculum and address the concerns raised by faith and community groups during the consultation.

The Minister continued: “It is vital that we continue to work with communities across Wales to ensure parents have the right to develop, care for and guide their children into adulthood while allowing our schools to provide a broad and balanced education.  

We will build on the community engagement which accompanied the consultation with a long term investment in listening to our communities and finding ways to address the issues which concern them.

The Minister also confirmed plans to establish a new RSE Working Group that will oversee the refinement of the new RSE statutory guidance to form part of the new curriculum guidance.

The Minister added: “I want to take the opportunity in 2021 to test the approach for RSE prior to it being made statutory in the new curriculum.  

This will provide valuable intelligence to inform the refinement of our approach and will also enable learners, parents and carers and communities to see it working in practice and to feedback their views.”

Further details on this approach will be announced over the coming weeks.  The consultation also showed support for renaming the subject ‘Religious Education’.

The most popular choice from respondents was ‘Religion, Values and Ethics’ and, as a result, the Minister confirmed the subject name would change when the new curriculum comes into effect. The Terrence Higgins Trust said that the news was something they very much welcomed, and said that they have been campaigning for this for a number of years. The Trust said that Wales has very much lead the way on this one as the UK Government has resisted calls to remove the parental opt-out for lessons when RSE lessons become compulsory in England from September. Debbie Laycock, Head of Policy at the trust said: “By guaranteeing access to Relationships & Sexuality Education lessons for all pupils, Wales is leading the way. We’ve campaigned for compulsory RSE lessons for nearly four decades and until now far too many young people have learned about sex through whispers in the playground. 
“This decision by the Welsh Government will go some way to fixing this. It’s absolutely vital lessons are LGBT+ inclusive and have a strong focus on HIV and sexual health so all young people have the knowledge they need to form healthy and fulfilling relationships. We are now looking to the Welsh Government to continue leading the way by providing all schools with the resources and training they need to deliver these new lessons to the highest standard across the board.” 

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