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Sailor tells the council: For dock's sake leave me alone.

A BOAT owner is battening down the hatches as he faces losing his pounds 100,000 luxury yacht after getting embroiled in a David and Goliath battle with his local council.

S t r a n g f o r d m a n B a r r y Fitzsimmons has been hauling his beautiful boat Nirvana into dry dock on the picturesque village's Green as part of a tradition he says goes back around 30 years.

But Down Council is now threatening to remove his vessel and sell it to cover the cost of removal if the dad-of-two does not back down and move it or pay for it being towed away.

However, the plasterer insists he will weather the storm and will see the council in court to protect the rights of all boat-using villagers.

Mr Fitzsimmons slammed: "I'm doing this for the boat owners and the future generations of owners who want to use The Green.

"This has been a fishing village since the Viking times and for the past 30 years, at least, The Green has been used to haul boats on during the winter months.

"We have photographs of boats on The Green going back to 1978. I'm willing to go to court if the council is going to pursue this, to protect the rights of all the villagers. This is a fishing village... what do they expect?" "It will end in court."

Down Council hit back saying it leases The Green off the de Ros Estate and the agreement stipulates no boats to dry dock on the land.

However, Mr Fitzsimmons has accused the council of heavyhanded tactics allowing The Green to be used as a car park.

CAPTION(S):

Barry Fitzsimmons owner of the 58-foot Sailing Yacht parked on the Strangford Green who got notice from Down Council to move on
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2009
Words:308
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