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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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Pembroke Dock: Man hospitalised after ‘jumping through pizza shop window’

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been taken to hospital after becoming injured by glass in Pembroke Dock.

According to a passing motorist a male was seen shouting and screaming in the street – he was being restrained by others.

He then jumped into the glass window of the PizzaTime take away in Meyrick Street, cutting his stomach on the glass.

Multiple police vehicles and an ambulance attended the incident which took place at around 15.30 HRS.

The road was temporarily blocked.

Once police car remains on scene (16:49 HRS)

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Ramsey Island: Father and daughter in dramatic sea rescue

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TWO KAYAKERS are lucky to be alive thanks to St Davids RNLI after finding themselves in serious danger.

When experienced kayakers Chris Coley and his 18-year-old daughter Molly Basson set off on a kayaking trip around Ramsey Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast on Saturday 14 September, they were reminded of the importance of respecting the water at all times.

The father and daughter were well prepared for the trip having researched the route beforehand and took the correct equipment with them.

However, having set off late morning in glorious sunshine they were soon battling against a roaring current. Chris and Molly decided to stay close to the coastline to prevent being pulled out to sea, but as they attempted to get out of the strong current and through the gaps between the rocks, that’s when they came into trouble.

The front end of Chris’ kayak got caught in the swell and turned him over. He managed to clamber onto the rocks, then panic set in, his daughter’s kayak had turned over too.

Chris said: ‘All I could see was Molly’s overturned kayak, but I couldn’t see her. At that point I was thinking of jumping in before seeing her re-appear. Luckily, Molly’s water sack had anchored her to the kayak. I was trying to stay calm because I didn’t want to worry Molly but I knew we were in trouble.’

Molly described the feeling of when she was in the water: ‘I didn’t realise how long I was under the water until my Dad told me, I was just focused on grabbing hold of my paddle and the kayak. The current felt so strong as it was throwing my body around. A little voice in my head told me to lie on my back and kick my legs. As soon as I did this everything became much easier and I was able to reach the rocks.’

Chris and Molly tried their best to get back in their kayaks but they kept overturning. The water was rising against the rocks, Molly recalled beginning to panic and looking at her Dad to say ‘this isn’t going to work, we have to call someone’.

They were both well prepared and had on them a means of calling for help in a waterproof pouch, so dialled 999 and asked for the Coastguard. The volunteer crew from St Davids RNLI were paged and within 20 minutes had launched their all-weather lifeboat and were on scene.

In order to get closer to Chris and Molly, their smaller Y-boat went to collect them. On seeing the lifeboat appear, Molly said: ‘When I saw the lifeboat, I felt my body release and all the worry and panic leave. As I was getting on the boat a huge wave came and moved the boat. I am so grateful to Tom on the crew who grabbed hold of my lifejacket to make sure I didn’t bang my head and suffer any injuries.’

Chris said: ‘I can’t tell you the relief I felt seeing the lifeboat. I am so grateful to all the crew from the RNLI who came to rescue me and my daughter. If we had been on the rocks any longer the situation would have become severe very quickly. I don’t want to think about what might have happened’.

Dai Jones, Coxswain of St Davids RNLI, said: ‘We are so glad that we able to help Chris and Molly when they needed us and that there was a positive outcome.

‘Both of them prepared themselves in exactly the right way, they were wearing the right equipment and had with them a means of calling for help. Without that we would not have known they were trouble or where they were.

‘Our advice for kayakers is to always carry a means of calling for help, and keep it on you at all times when out on the water. This means that if you capsize and get into trouble, you can call for help and increase your chances of survival.’

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Protesters block access to Valero Refinery and Pembroke Power Station

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WORKERS making their way to Pembroke Power Station and Valero oil refinery were unable to get to work on Thursday morning (Sept 19) due to the actions of climate change protesters from Extinction Rebellion

Before dawn a handful of protesters laid on the only road to the sites, and joined themselves together with a ‘new design’ of concrete encased handcuffs.

As dawn broke the police arrived – as hundreds of vehicles, mostly belonging to refinery and power station workers, got caught up in a long tail back reaching nearly all the way back to Pembroke.

With a large banner saying “No future in fossil fuels” by their side, the protesters argued with police and security officers.

Once officer asked: “Who is going to pay for this shut down today, these workers just want to do their jobs to put clothes on their children’s backs.”

A protester replied: “Can I just remind you that we are not here for the refinery staff, ask yourself, who is going to pay for a second planet.”

On Facebook activist April Griefsong said: “Nonviolent direct action inspires some awkward and difficult dialogue.

“We are not here to have arguments or disrupt local lives – and it is still necessary and needed to take a stand for life.”

Another protester, Dan, from Llandeilo, said: “We take this action today because the government, big business and general populace are not moving away from fossil fuels fast enough.

“The government declared a climate emergency and has so far not committed beyond words. Everyone needs to act now before it is too late.

“We know that the future of the planet is at stake if we do not take action to stop the flow of oil. Tomorrow is a general strike to protest about the climate crisis and shutting down this refinery is part of that.

“It is time to work together to slow the tumorous growth of consumption. For the sake of all future generations and all life forms, we are acting now.”

Dan added: “We are ordinary people in Wales taking a stand, lying down. There is no future in fossil fuels.”

A police spokesman said: “Dyfed-Powys Police received a report of a group of people blocking entrances to the Valero Refinery in Pembroke at around 5.45am on Thursday, September 19.

“It has been established the group are Extinction Rebellion protesters.

“The protest is currently peaceful but is causing significant disruption to local traffic at the Valero site. No arrests have been made.

“Police officers are at the scene and working with partner agencies to minimise disruption to communities and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“The right of free speech and protest is the right of everyone, however, officers will take necessary action against those who deliberately choose to act outside the law.

“For those who have to make journeys in the area, police advise you to avoid the area if possible or use alternative routes.”

A refinery spokesman played down the protest saying: “Valero can confirm that a peaceful protest is taking place on public roads on the approach to the refinery.

“The plant continues to operate in a safe and reliable manner without impact.”

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