Cornwall woodcarver allowed to sell goods from layby despite council protests

A woodcarver has been granted permission to continue trading from a lay-by despite complaints about the number of vehicles he had parked at the site. Des Petersen had applied to Cornwall Council to renew and vary his street trading licence to operate from the lay-by on the A3072 at Launcells in north Cornwall. Mr Petersen, who trades as Woodall Products selling wood carvings he makes, has previously been granted a licence to operate from the lay-by.

Last year he explained that he kept the location safe as he said that it was a known location for dogging. But despite being granted a licence each year Mr Petersen has been consistently told that he should only have vehicles parked in the lay-by for use with his work during the trading hours allowed by the licence. However on occasion Mr Petersen has had up to five vehicles parked in the lay-by which has attracted complaints from some local people and Launcells Parish Council.

The parish council objected to his latest application stating that his repeated breach of conditions attached to his street trading licence were unacceptable. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. Cornwall Council’s street trading sub-committee agreed to grant the licence but amended the conditions so that Mr Petersen should only have three vehicles parked in the lay-by during operating hours.

These are a showman’s wagon, a Bedford truck and trailer – a campervan and Volkswagen Beetle, which Mr Petersen also owns, should not be parked at the site under the conditions of the licence. However the committee also stated that Mr Petersen would have to comply with legislation set by highways and planning authorities and would not be the consideration of the street trading sub-committee. Mr Petersen said he had worked and traded from the lay-by since 2015 and chose it as it was remote and away from any homes.

He said it was “enormous” – 300 metres in length – and even with his vehicles would provide enough space for people to stop in. Mr Petersen claimed he had been harassed and victimised by the parish council and that most local people welcomed him there. He said he worked hard to pick up any litter which was left in the lay-by and to keep it attractive for people who might stop there.

Mr Petersen told the committee: “People come past and say that when they see me summer has arrived. This makes me feel welcome and makes me feel good.” There had been claims that Mr Petersen had started trading from the lay-by before being granted his licence for this year but he said he had not been selling any of his wood carvings and only had them on show as his son was filming him as part of his college studies.

Mr Petersen said he needed to have all of his vehicles onsite as he used them for his work. Alan Whittle, chairman of Launcells Parish Council, said: “The objection we have is that Mr Petersen repeatedly breaks the terms of his licence.” The parish councillor explained that this had happened in 2018, 2019 and 2020 adding: “He ignored the terms of his licence and kept his vehicles on site at all times.”

Photograph provided by Des Petersen showing his vehicles and wood carvings in the layby he works from in Launcells

Dr Whittle said: “If Mr Petersen kept to the terms of his licence and just had the showman’s wagon and Bedford truck during the day we would not object. Unfortunately Mr Petersen breaks the terms of his licence every year so we have to object.”

The committee noted that there had been no objections to Mr Petersen’s application from environmental health, health and safety, highways or the police. Councillors also recognised the work that Mr Petersen did in collecting litter in the lay-by and keeping it tidy. The decision to grant his licence was approved unanimously by the committee.

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