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Man Evicted From Shipping Container Home On A Technicality

A man who has lived happily in a home made from a recycled shipping container has been evicted by his local council on a legal technicality.

Stephen Gibbons has lived in the property, located on land at Lighthouse Farm in St Brides near Newport in Monmouthshire, since 1992 and brought up four children there, ensuring the home has a treasure trove of memories as well as being an established, liveable space.

His neighbours like him and have no problem with his unusual residence, but Newport City Council has taken a very different view and has ordered him to leave within six months.

The reason for this is that the yard where the container sits was registered for agricultural use as a place for keeping sheep and goats. The council was never informed of an intention to change its purpose and thus, with no application ever being made, has decided Mr Gibbons is living there illegally.

Mr Gibbons has accepted that no application for change of use was made, but disputes the council’s view that the yard became place for vehicle repairs, something Mr Gibbons says it has not been used for bar fixing one single tractor in three decades.

The case may act as a reminder to anyone seeking to buy a used shipping container that they should check if they need planning permission before proceeding with their scheme for it.

Thankfully, Newport Council is not specifically against the re-use of shipping containers for novel means, with examples including the Tin Can Kitchen street food outlet in Rogerstone area of the city.

Owners Jordan Phillips and Barry Fallon are now about to open a second facility in another used container, this time in the What! Store car park in Cwmbran, the South Wales Argus reports.

Their original plans for a larger presence on the ground changed during the pandemic and now involve providing a local food delivery service.

Mr Philips said: “Our converted shipping container is 20ft wide and 10ft tall and you will be surprised what we can fit in there - we have state of the art commercial kitchens.”

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