HEREFORDSHIRE'S strongest man is taking on the county council in a battle over a shed.

The council has ordered Nick Hill to tear down the £3,000 storage building he put up without planning permission at his home at Corner Cottage, Newtown, near Leominster.

Mr Hill, who weighs 19 stone and holds "strongest man" titles for three counties, says he will cover his land with polytunnels and shipping containers if he is forced to demolish the steel-clad building.

He says the shed, which is fitted with a laser beam alarm system, is essential for the truck, chippers and chainsaws he uses in his work as a tree surgeon.

The council's action will put him out of business, he claims.

"I will not give up without a fight," said Mr Hill, 38. "This is not the avenue I want to go down but they are not giving me any choice."

The deadline for demolition of the 46ft by 30ft building ran out yesterday (Wednesday) but a defiant Mr Hill said his shed would stay.

If the council demolished it and sent him the bill - as he had been warned the council could - he would put his polytunnels protest into action.

Herefordshire Council spokesman Craig MacFarlane said the authority was entitled to bulldoze the building and order Mr Hill to pay the costs but was more likely to take court action.

"The dispute has a long history," said Mr MacFarlane.

"Mr Hill applied for retrospective permission, which was refused on sound planning grounds.

"He went to appeal but his case was rejected.

"The planning inspector upheld the council's view that the shed was detrimental to the character and appearance of the countryside and was not essential for Mr Hill's business.

"More suitable premises could be found elsewhere."