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Milford Haven: Gardener may appeal over shed on wheels verdict

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A MILFORD HAVEN gardener who fitted wheels to his garden shed in a bid to circumvent planning law, has lost his legal battle in the magistrates court – but says he may appeal to the crown court.

James Kershaw of Pill Priory, Lower Priory runs Top Notch Gardening. He tried to claim that, by adding the wheels, the shed was no longer a building and therefore not subject to planning regulations. Last Friday (Jun 14), he was convicted of not complying with an Enforcement Notice issued by Pembrokeshire County Council and fined £700.

Delivering his reserved verdict at Llanelli Magistrates Court, District Judge Chris James found for the Council on all arguments, including that the defendant had added the wheels after the Enforcement Notice’s compliance period. He added he was also satisfied that it remained a building. Judge James said he did not believe the argument advanced on behalf of Kershaw that the shed was intended to be moved around the yard nor that it would be possible to actually do so.

He further found that the Enforcement Notice was valid with the defendant clearly understanding what he was required to do and that the addition of the wheels was an attempt to evade planning authority control. Judge James was delivering his judgement following an earlier hearing at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court.

It was stated then that in 2015 Kershaw had erected the wooden shed on his land at Pill Priory without planning permission. The County Council served Kershaw with an Enforcement Notice requiring the shed to be demolished on the basis of harm to the adjacent Priory ruins – a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade 2 Listed Building. Subsequently, the court heard, Kershaw appealed but this was dismissed by a planning inspector and the Notice upheld. Following a period of non-compliance, the County Council instigated legal proceedings and Kershaw later denied one offence of failure to comply with the Notice.

At the Haverfordwest trial, Kershaw produced pictures of the shed showing that wheels had been added and that therefore it was no longer a building but a chattel placed on land. The trial was then adjourned for skeleton arguments to be filed.

The skeleton argument filed on behalf of the defendant alleged that: the wheels had been added prior to the period of the charge – therefore before February 2018; compliance with the Enforcement Notice (which refers to a building) was impossible as, by February 2018, the shed had already ceased to be a building but was now a chattel placed on land and the Enforcement Notice was a nullity as it referred to a building, or alternatively, that by converting the shed from being a building the defendant had done all he could to comply with the Notice.

The County Council claimed that Kershaw had not added the wheels to the shed until after the charge period. The Authority also contended that in any event the Town and Country Planning Act prohibited the defendant from raising as a defence in criminal proceedings something that he could have (and did) raise by way of appeal and, despite the alterations, the shed as a matter of fact and degree, remained a building.

In mitigation for the defendant, barrister Matthew Graham Paul said that his client had made a deliberate decision to test the legal position; that his actions were not for personal gain and that most people were entitled to a garden shed – he needed it to store his business tools.

Delivering his judgement, Judge James said that there was an element of deliberate defiance by the defendant for his own benefit. The Judge referred to the words of the planning inspector who called the shed a “clumsy and monolithic addition” and a significant visual intrusion which failed to preserve the setting of the Listed building. However, Judge James said he considered the harm caused could be rectified and noted that the defendant had no previous record of failing to comply with planning law.

Kershaw was also ordered to pay a £70 victim’s surcharge and costs of £2,244.04 were awarded to Pembrokeshire County Council.

Speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald after the case Kershaw said: “I am considering appealing the verdict to Swansea Crown Court as I believe the judge erred in his verdict in this case.”

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Johnston: Police appeal after boy on scooter injured in collision

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POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a collision in Johnston, near Haverfordwest, on Wednesday (Aug 5).

A boy on a scooter sustained minor injuries during the collision, which took place at around 4.20pm.

A red 4×4 is also believed to have been involved.

Anyone who was in the area of the St Peters Road pelican crossing, or nearby Langford road, and either witnessed the collision or who has CCTV that covers this area is asked to get in touch with Dyfed-Powys Police

As spokesman said: “You can telephone 101 or email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Please quote Dyfed-Powys Police Ref DP-20200805-249.”

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Police ask communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend

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Police are asking communities to stay alert to prevent raves this weekend.

As we head into the weekend, police are urging members of the public in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire to help them prevent illegal raves from setting up in their communities.

A police operation, called #OpFlamenco, is urging people living in rural communities, including farmers and landowners, to report anything suspicious to Dyfed-Powys Police.

The information will help police respond swiftly as illegal raves arise and hopefully prevent them from happening or at the very least allow police to respond before they become established.

Superintendent Jon Cummins, Head of Specialist Operations for Dyfed-Powys Police, said:

“We know raves can cause anxiety to the community they are held in, and if not dealt with swiftly are difficult to stop due to the sheer numbers of people involved. There is also a safety concern involved in breaking-up such events. And as we’re currently faced with the pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that these types of gatherings do not take place.

“As a force, action is taken as soon as we gather any intelligence of an event being planned. We will continue to respond swiftly to reports of illegal gatherings, and where appropriate will prosecute those responsible in order to protect our communities. Officers will also be conducting proactive patrols of areas identified as possible sites for these types of gatherings.

“However, these types of illegal events are carefully co-ordinated to avoid police attention, and organisers will always try to find new ways to avoid being found out.

“We rely on the support of communities to report any suspicious activity immediately, so action can be taken to disrupt illegal gatherings swiftly. And there has never been a more important time for us all to look out for each other, and report anything that seems suspicious.

“I would encourage farmers, landowners and local communities to report anything they feel is suspicious or out of the ordinary either online at: http://bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, or by email at: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101.”

Know the signs:

Unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks, seen in the locality.
Illegal trespassers may recce sites in advance of any rave

People may approach landowners and ask around for land, in the guise of hiring it for acceptable activities such as gymkhanas or scout camps.

If you suspect anyone who approaches you for land hire might not be who they say they are, please do not hesitate to contact police.

Social networks make it easier for organisers to spread the word – rave attendance numbers can grow hugely in short spaces of time, and locations can change quickly.

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Haverfordwest: Appeal for information following incident at Morrisons

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POLICE are investigating a shoplifting and assault allegation which occurred at approximately 3.20pm on Saturday (Aug 1) at Morrisons, Haverfordwest.

A teenage male was involved in an altercation with the store security guard after he and two older people, a male and a female, were stopped for the purpose of checking receipts as they exited the store.

All three had left the store before police arrival.

Police said: “There were a number of customers of the store who may have witnessed the incident.

“Anyone with information which could help the investigation is asked contact police.”

“Police can be contacted at contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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