Land row man must stay in jail

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
Have your say

A businessman who was jailed for repeatedly flouting court orders to clear unauthorised development from his land has lost a court bid for freedom.

Nigel Smith, aged 57, has been locked in a four-year planning battle with Doncaster Council over use of land at Manor Farm, Moss.

His troubles revolved around the siting of an unauthorised caravan, large portable office, hardcore, sheds, hen coops and dog kennels.

In September, after breaching a series of court orders, Smith was jailed for nine months for contempt of court after failing to clear the offending items.

His lawyers went to the Appeal Court to ask for him to be freed to ensure remaining items are removed.

“What Mr Smith is proposing is for him to be on site so he can start removing the hardcore,” said barrister, Michael Paget.

He added that Smith, who is in Doncaster Prison, has found it difficult to arrange for the hardcore to be removed while he is jailed.

“He genuinely wants to comply with planning controls and that would be done far quicker if he is out of prison,” urged the barrister.

Rejecting his bid, Mrs Justice Cox said: “I see no reason why the defendant has not at least taken some steps in order to comply with the injunction.

“His assertion that he needs to be released in order to do so appears to me to be unfounded.

“I am not persuaded that his release from prison immediately is necessary for him to demonstrate that he intends to deal with the hardcore.

“The defendant has cocked a snook at the court and deserves no sympathy.”