United Kingdom

Gardener beats council order to tear down shed by putting wheels on it

A gardener has beaten a council order to tear down his shed - by fitting wheels to it.

James Kershaw, 39, was told to take down the 20ft wooden shed in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, after planners ruled it harmed the view of neighbouring historic ruins.

He then fitted the wheels and claimed it was now 'chattel' - a movable piece of property - rather than a building and thus the enforcement notice from Pembrokeshire County Council to remove it was not valid.

Earlier this year he was hauled before Llanelli Magistrates' Court where a district judge rejected his argument and said the wheels were 'deliberate defiance' by Mr Kershaw, fining him £700 and ordering him to pay £2,200 legal costs.

Gardener James Kershaw has won an appeal to avoid tearing down his 20ft shed in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire after putting wheels on the bottom, successfully arguing it is no longer a building because it can now be moved 

Mr Kershaw, 39, left, had previously been told to remove the shed because of the harm to the view of the neighbouring Pill Priory ruins - a 12th Century ancient monument, right, and was previously slapped with a £700 fine at magistrates' court for fitting the wheels to the bottom 

But an appeal hearing today at Swansea Crown Court was told Mr Kershaw was advised by a council planning officer to fit the wheels and the judge ruled the prosecution subsequently brought against him was illegal. 

Mr Kershaw built the shed in 2015 to store tools for his business in Milford Haven but planners ruled it would have to be removed as it harmed the view of the neighbouring Pill Priory ruins - a 12th Century ancient monument.

Mr Kershaw then added the wheels saying he intended to move the shed around the yard, and told Swansea Crown Court he fitted them after consulting with a council officer. 

Speaking after the case, he said: 'The judge made the only fair and reasonable decision he could have in this case.

'The council's incompetence has cost the local taxpayer over £10,000. I'm wheelie pleased the case just rolled along - looking forward to getting my substantial costs back.

Mr Kershaw won an appeal at Swansea Crown Court after revealing he was advised to the fit the wheels to the shed, pictured before they were added, by a council officer, with a judge ruling the subsequent prosecution was illegal

Mr Kershaw argued the shed 'doesn't harm anyone' and said the council's 'incompetence' had cost the taxpayer £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.'

The council have now been ordered to cover the costs of the case. 

After the verdict 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.

'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.'

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