Written by Ivan Edwards |
The chair of the Falmouth Town Council planning committee who chopped down and burned two hectares of woodland has said he “never knew” he needed permission to do so, after being ordered to replant the trees.
Alan Jewell, the Conservative Councillor for Falmouth Boslowick and owner of Pennance Mill Farm Chalet & Camping Park, felled and burned the trees on his land in the Goldenbank area on May 24 to make way for holiday homes. According to the Falmouth Packet, three fire engines were needed to put out the bonfires, which had been left unattended.
Jewell, who is a member of both the Falmouth Town Council and Cornwall County Council, said: “I never knew I needed permission to cut down the trees. So as far as I knew I wasn’t breaking the law.”
He has now been ordered to replant the trees by the Forestry Commission. He added, “We may, in the future, be putting some holiday accommodation in there, but we will be planting trees that will be better than what we took out.”
It is not the first time the councillor, who also owns the Falmouth Pitch & Putt golf course, has caused controversy. In 2017, he helped to block an application by a rival business to build 226 holiday homes on land near his holiday park, without declaring a possible conflict of interest.
In 2016, he sought advice on converting some properties on his land into “top end” student flats. However, he later opposed plans to increase the cap on students at Penryn by 50%, saying “Penryn will be swamped with students”.
Jewell has represented the Boslowick ward, which has a high number of students, since 2013. One hopes that, after this incident, he is now fully acquainted with planning regulations, and the mistake won’t be repeated.