A WELL-KNOWN Gwent businessman won an appeal against his driving ban for speeding after he successfully argued he needs his licence to help him care for his widowed 84-year-old mother-in-law.

Alan Darlow, 71, from Monmouthshire, who built up an estate agency empire, overturned a six-month disqualification imposed by Cwmbran magistrates.

He admitted speeding five miles over the 30mph speed limit on the town’s Henllys Way in his Land Rover on April 14, 2021, prosecutor Jac Brown said.

Darlow was banned from driving as a result of “totting up” 12 points on his licence and was also ordered to pay a £666 fine, £90 costs and a £66 surcharge.

The six-month disqualification had been suspended pending the outcome of his appeal.

Darlow, a chartered surveyor, owns a portfolio of residential and commercial properties, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

His barrister James Evans argued that the ban imposed “exceptional hardship” on his client.

Darlow, he put forward, lived in a rural area in Llanhennock, near Caerleon, Newport, and needed his licence to be able to run his business and inspect his properties.

The appellant, who recently had surgery for a knee and hip replacement, lived around three miles from the nearest bus stop.

The court was told his wife does not drive and it would be “impossible to conduct his business using public transport”.

Darlow’s mother-in-law lived 12 to 15 miles away from the couple and suffers from “poor health” and relied upon them for help.

He was “not in a position to employ a driver” after it was heard that many of his commercial properties stand empty following coronavirus.

Mr Evans added: “We are not asking for anyone to feel sorry for him.

“He lives in a beautiful house.”

He added how the appellant had been awarded an MBE for his charity work and was a man of good character with no criminal convictions recorded against him apart from speeding offences.

Recorder Paul Hobson, sitting with magistrates Andrew Goodman and Nigel Buckland, granted the appeal.

The judge said: “The appellant said that his rental income from the various properties in rough terms comes in at £300,000 to £400,000 per year.

“However, balanced against that there are very considerable mortgage liabilities on those properties and on his own property itself, that’s a £10,000 per month mortgage on the property which is a substantial one at 75 acres and there’s a great deal of expense in maintaining the grounds and the gardens.

“He says he is struggling and can’t afford a driver.”

That house on Glen Usk Road is now on the market.

Recorder Hobson added: “What we find more persuasive is the position of this appellant’s mother-in-law who we accept is housebound and who relies heavily upon him due to her significant health problems.

“We accept the proposition that disqualification would lead to exceptional hardship in respect of her.”

The driving ban was quashed with three penalty points being added to his licence in its place, the fine reduced to £200, the surcharge to £34 but the costs remaining at £90.

Darlow now has 12 points on his licence and was warned he could not advance an exceptional hardship argument again during the next three years should he receive another speeding notice during that time.