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Council’s prosecution over shed was a ‘wheelie bad idea’

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman has succeeded in overturning a decision that he breached planning rules.

James Kershaw, of Lower Priory, was convicted when a Court ruled that a shed he placed on wheels was a permanent fixture at his home.

However, in an appeal hearing on Friday (Aug 23), Swansea Crown Court found that the Council’s prosecution of Mr Kershaw was an abuse of process.

The Judge accepted Mr Kershaw’s evidence he undertook work to put wheels on the shed in January 2018.

When he did so, Mr Kershaw relied on the advice given to him by an officer of Pembrokeshire County Council. In September 2017, the officer told Mr Kershaw that provided he placed the shed on wheels there would be no problems with planning and enforcement.

The Judge decided that it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute to allow the planning authority to prosecute Mr Kershaw after he relied upon the advice given to him by one of its employees.

After the case James Kershaw, who was awarded substantial costs, said: “The judge made the only fair and reasonable decision he could have in this case. I would like to thank my legal team, including my very capable barrister Mr. Matthew Paul.

“The Council’s incompetence has cost the local taxpayer over £10,000.

“The shed doesn’t harm anyone and is a mobile, movable structure which replaces a more permanent shed which was dilapidated and in the same location.”

“I hope the Council can concentrate now on more pressing issues like sorting out the flood risk at Lower Priory.”

“The Council’s planning department, who were keen to prosecute me, are responsible in part for the flooding which affected so many people last year in my neighbourhood; they allowed development lower down stream at Haven’s Head Business Park.”

“Sorting this issue for the other locals and myself is clearly more important than them wasting time and money on a pointless legal challenge”, jokingly Kershaw said, “it was a wheelie bad idea”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure, Phil Baker, said: “While accepting the Court’s decision, the Council wishes to point out that the ruling hinged on a legal argument over process due to the discovery of advice provided by a planning officer given to the applicant during the planning application.

“The Appeal Judge determined that this subsequently invalidated the Authority’s ability to bring a prosecution.”

Councillor Baker explained: “The Council is keen to stress that it should not be accepted that the outcome of this case implies that by adding wheels to a structure that it is no longer a building and therefore not subject to planning regulations.”

He added that the planning officer in question is no longer employed by the Authority.

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Give the gift of fitness this Christmas

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PEMBROKESHIRE LEISURE is offering the ‘gift of fitness’ this Christmas, with a limited time only membership offer.

A three-month membership can be purchased for £99 from any leisure centre until December 23, 2019.

Membership includes the use of gyms, group exercise classes, public swimming and lessons, health suites and exercise programmes at any of Pembrokeshire County Council’s leisure centres (located at Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Pembroke, Fishguard, Tenby, St.Davids and Crymych).

The membership gifts must be activated by January 31, 2020.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.facebook.com/pembrokeshireleisure/

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Rosemarket man to appear in court on rape charge

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A 40-YEAR-OLD man is due to appear at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court today (Nov 20) after being charged with rape.

Christian Edward Macleod of Rosemarket, is charged with raping a woman aged 16 or over in Milford Haven on September 22.

He is also charged with common assault.

It is likely he will appear before Swansea Crown Court next month due to the nature of the charges.

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Coastguard help Fisheries Officer with Sandy Haven fishing net

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MEMBERS of the public contacted the coastguard to complain about a fishing net across Sandy Haven beach on Sunday. The very long net, which was anchored to the sand, was left with dying and dead fish in it.

Local Tracey Griffiths was on the beach and videoed the scene. It was viewed by 9,000 people on Facebook within 24 hours.

She wrote on her post: “This long line was anchored right across the mouth of Sandy Haven this evening; it must have had dozens upon dozens of dying or dead fish caught up in it.
“We tried to save as many as we could, but the tide was coming in and this net was hundreds of meters long.
“This is illegal, and the coastguard have been informed.
“Sandy Haven is protected and has all sorts of beautiful wildlife like Otters that use it. The people who laid this should feel ashamed…”

A spokesman from HM Coastguard Dale posted on social media: “Coastguard Operations Centre at 16.27 to investigate a large net at Sandy Haven. Many members of public had reported the issue. We expected a large trawl net, a threat to navigation.
“The Team arrived and found a large monofilament net placed across the beach.
“The incident was of interest to Fisheries Enforcement and we were asked to preserve the scene.
On their arrival we provided safety cover then assisted the Fisheries Officer with the recovery of the net.”

A spokesman close to the finish industry, who did not want to be named, told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “I think this is a beach set gill net with grey mullet in it.
“They are legal if under 50 meters long and mesh size greater than 100mm.
“There is no need for license if it was set without a boat. Beach set nets are usually legal, although morally wrong.”

At the time of publication, this newspaper had not yet confirmed the length of the net and its legality or otherwise.

There is a link to Tracey Griffith’s video on The Pembrokeshire Herald Facebook page.

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