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Pembrokeshire man fined £15k for breaching enforcement notice

Words: Laura Edgar
 The Ridgeway, Manorbier Newton / Prembrokeshire National Park Authority

Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court has fined a man £15,000 for contravening a planning temporary stop notice and two charges of breaching an enforcement notice.

Richard Scarfe, of Pembroke Dock, pleaded guilty to the charges on Wednesday 8 May, which included developing land and moving caravans near an ancient monument without planning consent.

The land in question is near The Ridgeway, Manorbier Newton, close to a Bronze Age barrow, a scheduled ancient monument.

Matthew Paul, prosecuting for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, said Scarfe and his family enquired about establishing a settlement on the site in 2015, but were advised that it would not be acceptable.

After this, the authority was notified that earthworks were being carried out and a caravan had been brought onto the land. Despite a temporary stop notice, development continued and more caravans were brought on the site.

Further stop and enforcement notices to restore the land, following a failed appeal, were not complied with. The breach of planning control took place over four years.

Jonathan Webb, defending, said the family found themselves homeless after having to leave rented accommodation. They were told that their only option was to stay in a hostel for a long time, he explained. Scarfe’s partner was later able to find a house to rent, and he continued to use the land as a smallholding. The Bronze Age barrow was ‘penned off’ and untouched by the development, he added.

“This was a desperate man who was looking for somewhere to house his partner and children at that time. This is not about trying to destroy an ancient monument that people can’t even look at,” Webb said.

The judge nevertheless found Scarfe guilty. As well as the £15,000 fine, he was ordered to pay £2,000 costs plus a £170 surcharge.

Nicola Gandy, head of development management at the national park authority, said: “Wilful and intentional unauthorised development at this sensitive site, including bringing in static caravans, continued steadily for four years, despite clear enforcement notice from the authority.

“The fine reflects the gravity of the breach, and we were very pleased with the outcome, which recognised the serious nature of this offence.”

Image credit | Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority