No bees allowed in Fernvale

Somerset Regional Council has told Paul Leman he must remove the beehives from his Fernvale property.
Somerset Regional Council has told Paul Leman he must remove the beehives from his Fernvale property. Derek Barry

A FERNVALE hobby beekeeper has fallen foul of Somerset Council's regulations leaving him needing to quickly find a home for 30 hives.

Paul Leman is a fly in fly out worker who has lived on a half hectare Fernvale property for 10 years.

Around six months ago he decided to keep bees as hobby.

"I work four weeks on and one week off, and on my week off I like to have a coffee and sit and watch the bees - they're fascinating," Paul said.

"I don't make any money out of them. I make my boxes out of hoop pine and I give all the honey away."

Matters changed earlier this week when he got a call from the council saying he couldn't keep the bees and council would be coming around to remove them if he didn't take alternative action.

"I've not had any problems with them but someone must have rang up and complained," he said.

"I'm going to have to move them to mate's house but because they forage within 5km, they will come back here."

Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann said they advised Mr Leman he was in breach of their planning scheme.  

"The subject land is included in the Park Residential Precinct of the town zone which forms part of the urban footprint for Fernvale," Cr Lehmann said.

"A development approval is required prior to carrying out animal husbandry activities on land less than two hectares and contained in the Park Residential Precinct."

Paul said he now had two weeks to move the bees.

"If people can keep bees on balconies in the city, I don't understand why I can't do it out here," he said.

Bees have been known to cause allergic reactions.

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