THE owner of a popular showground has won a three-year battle and proven he has the right to use his land for special events.

After a High Court showdown, Battlesbridge Antiques Centre owner Jim Gallie has now been granted the right to hold the events at the 16-acre showground at Muggeridge Farm, Maltings Road, Battlesbridge.

Chelmsford City Council had served an enforcement notice on him for not having permission to hold the events.

Despite him proving that he had used the site as a showground for longer than ten years - in fact he’s held events there since 1989 - planning inspectors said the use of the land could have been returned to agricultural between events.

It therefore ruled that the use was unlawful.

However, Mr Gallie took the case to the High Court, which decided the planning inspector was wrong with his decision in this case and said the use was lawful.

After the case, Mr Gallie told how the council offered him a “letter of comfort”, which means it accepts he has the lawful right to use the land for events.

In return, Mr Gallie has agreed not to pursue the authority for the recovery of his legal fees.

Mr Gallie said: “It has taken three years to get to this point.

“Of course I am delighted with the final outcome after so long, albeit with the high legal cost.

“I can now move forwards on providing a perfect venue for shows, rallies, corporate days, receptions and functions.”

He added that it had worked out well as he was prepared to have the council put conditions on how many events he held and his opening hours, but with this decision he has more freedom.

Mr Gallie will continue fighting for permission to keep a marquee up the whole year around, instead of having to keep putting it up and down again.

He said: “We had to cancel an event last year because we had all of this hanging over us, but we are looking to have a successful year this year.”

The current annual events include The Bulldog Bonanza, Classic Car and Autojumble, Volkswagen Vee Dubbers, Classic Motor Cycle and Bike Jumble, Classic Ford Car and Autojumble, Custom Culture Show, Annual Boat Jumble, The Grand Motorbilia Day and the new Victorian Christmas Fair scheduled for December.

The next event, on May 14, is the Classic Car Show and Autojumble. For more informations visit

The Echo contacted Chelmsford Council for comment but did not receive a response before going to print.