A Killashee man has been ordered to remove fencing along a public road after failing to comply with an enforcement notice
A man charged before Longford District Court last week with failing to comply with an enforcement notice from Longford County Council was ordered to remove fencing from alongside a public road in Killashee following a lengthy hearing into the matter.
Brendan Shanley, Middleton, Killashee, Co Longford did not appear in court last Tuesday, but was before the Judge for failing to comply with an order to remove unauthorised fencing at Middleton, Killashee, Co Longford on August 13, 2015.
Outlining the case to the court, Counsel for Longford County Council said the matter centered around a one kilometer of road that had been fenced along one side in 2006 by Mr Shanley.
The other side of the road was subsequently fenced in 2014 and when the second side was fenced off, the road became unsafe, the court was told.
The court also heard that that the defendant owned four acres in total of the land including the areas that had been fenced off.
Mr Shanley used the grass for grazing, silage, etc and the court heard that because there was cattle on the land in the first instance, it was therefore necessary to put fencing in place.
“The road was too narrow and nobody could pass out or even turn on the road,” added Counsel, before pointing to the fact that the local authority had in fact contacted An Bord Pleanala in relation to the matter and the planning authority had informed it that the route was not exempt from any conditions.
“The issue is whether or not the council is time-barred in relation to taking proceedings against the fencing that was carried out in 2014.
Mr Carthy representing the defendant said that in the case of the 2006 fencing, the posts were up so long now, the matter had surpassed the seven year rule on such matters.
“Even if it were time-barred, the development commenced in 2006 and therefore it is now time-barred,” he added.
“I have indicated to the local authority that my client is prepared to address any concerns that the council has in relation to safety issues by creating a layby or lay bys to accommodate traffic on the road.
“But I am being told that the fencing has to come down …...period.”
Meanwhile, Counsel for Longford Co Council said that it was his understanding that fencing along a public route was allowed, but only in instances where it did not create a hazard or potential hazard for road users or motorists.
Photographic evidence was then submitted to the court and Judge Hughes asked if the four acres included the grass strip on the inside of the fencing.
He was told that it did.
Counsel for Longford Co Council then said that the local authority would be happy to accommodate laybys along the route, “as long as it is safe”.
“Detailed plans and drawings were sent to the Council but the engineer said that everything was acceptable as long as the new fencing on the route was moved back at least by a meter,” he continued, before pointing out that the problem now, was that cars could no longer turn on the road or pass out other motorists.
A representative from Longford Co Council then addressed the court.
He said that the local authority would prefer if the fencing was moved back by two metres, not one metre.
He also pointed out to Judge Hughes that the area in question - originally a State home and lands - had been taken in charge by the local authority in 1969 and had been maintained by it ever since.
“The 2014 fencing is the one that is closest to the road and therefore is the one that should come down altogether,” the Longford Co Council representative added.
Meanwhile, Judge Hughes asked both parties to remove themselves from the courtroom and endeavour to find a solution to the matter.
A short time later, Mr Carthy addressed the court.
He said that his client had agreed “in principal” to move the 2014 fencing back by two metres and both sides had agreed that he had until May 2, 2018 to complete the task.
“There is an element of give and take here and I would suggest that both parties pay their own legal fees in respect of this matter,” added the local solicitor, before the court was informed that the Council’s fees were in the region of €7,000.
“To remove the fencing will cost my client as a contractor will have to be employed .”
During his ruling on the matter, Judge Hughes said that on the basis that the fencing went back two metres as per agreement, he would make no ruling in respect of costs.
“I want a solution to this and the local authority has made it clear that it satisfied that moving the fencing back two meters will resolve the matter,” Judge Hughes concluded.