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Ex-owner failed to clear scrapyard in Saltney

Published date: 31 July 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THE owner of a former vehicle dismantling yard on the Flintshire-Chester border has been convicted of failing to remove scrap vehicles and restoring the site to its original condition.

Christopher Brian Williams, 62, who suffers from cancer and attended court on oxygen and in a wheelchair, denied failing to comply with two planning enforcement notices.

But he was convicted by a jury of 10 women and two men at Mold Crown Court yesterday.

Williams, of Saltney Terrace, Saltney Ferry, told the court he had about 20 children and the remaining vehicles on the site in Saltney Ferry were either owned by him or members of his family, said he did as much as he could to remove items from the premises.

Hundreds of vehicles were removed when he ceased to run his car dismantling business, he claimed. But he was ill and could do no more.

His sons had started to remove the cladding off a building. 

But they had got jobs in Liverpool and he could not employ anyone else to complete the work and remove the steel frame because he had no money, he said.

Asked by the judge about a swimming pool which appeared in one of the photographs of the site, he said his partner had saved for that for the grandchildren.

After the conviction, Judge Philip Hughes adjourned sentence for three weeks and ordered a 

pre-sentence report from the probation service, an up-to-date medical report from his doctor, and details of his financial means.

Williams said the vehicles, including an ice-cream van and a burger van, were not scrap but owned by family members.

Tyres were theirs including bicycle tyres owned by his grandchildren. Wire fencing where there were tyres was in fact a chicken run, he said.

He claimed he had done everything possible but that was not good enough for the council.

The authority had accepted in previous proceedings the vehicles were not scrap, he claimed.

David Ackerley, defending, said it was clear from medical evidence his client was an ill man who found himself without recourses to carry out the remaining work.

Martin Carter, prosecuting for Flintshire Council, said enforcement notices had been served, an appeal to the Welsh Assembly Government dismissed and the requirements should have been put into effect long ago.

But planning enforcement officer Alex Walker examined the site last summer and took photos, finding there were still vehicles there along with parts, tyres and other items.

While the cladding had been taken off a building the steel frame remained together with a ramp.

The site had not been restored.

l In SEPTEMBER 2012, during previous proceedings at Mold Crown Court, the former scrapyard was described as a blight on the local community.

Mr Williams at that stage admitted failing to comply with notices on the basis the vehicles there were not scrap and he ended up with a £1,900 court bill.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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