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[Fwd: SAP news - January 2005]

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  • Richard Morris
    ... Subject: SAP news - January 2005 Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 10:41:54 +0000 From: Aranya Reply-To: mail@s-a-p.org.uk
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2005
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      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: SAP news - January 2005
      Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 10:41:54 +0000
      From: Aranya <aranya@...>
      Reply-To: mail@...
      Organization: Aranya Gardens


      Hi everyone & Happy New Year!

      Just a quick message to let you know what the SAP group is planning for
      2005 & a few other things that may be of interest to you....

      Firstly, following a series of both very well & extremely poorly
      attended events in 2004, we have decided to take a slightly different
      approach this year. We will still be running permaculture taster days &
      full design courses, but as far as other related days & events go we
      have decided to host them 'on demand'. It requires a lot of effort to
      promote & put on even a single day event & nearly all this preparation
      work has been done by myself voluntarily. Whilst I am happy to do this
      if we have a well attended event that inspires participants to go away &
      make positive changes, too many times last year I wasted my time on
      events which attracted little or no interest & didn't run. I'm not
      prepared to do this anymore.

      So I will shortly be producing a list of proposed events / courses,
      which I will be circulating & placing on the SAP website. When I receive
      enough interested names for any particular one I shall approach everyone
      who has contacted me & suggest some dates on which to hold it & a venue
      to host it. From the responses I get back, I will choose the the date &
      venue that suits most people & let everyone know that we are prepared to
      run it on that particular day (should enough of those who have expressed
      an interest then confirm their bookings). So, if you really want us to
      run an event on a particular subject, it might be a good idea to seek
      out others who would be interested too. More about those proposed events
      soon, but if you have any suggestions for subject matter to be added to
      my list, then please let me know by replying to this email. Thanks, I
      look forward to running a series of great days that you want to be
      involved in!

      Next, you may remember receiving an email from me at the end of last
      year about requesting support for Andy & Ella Portman with the planning
      application they are making for their beautiful & inspiring land-based
      permaculture project near Glastonbury. Some of you may have already
      visited, if you haven't we have photos you can view on the SAP website
      at: http://www.s-a-p.org.uk/Avalon%20Permaculture%20Gardens.htm

      *They are applying for:
      1. Retrospective permission for change of use for stables into a small
      visitor’s centre.* These have already been simply converted using
      recycled windows, doors and insulation. This visitors centre to comprise
      a kitchen and eating place, dormitory style accommodation and an
      entrance lobby. This could be temporary permission as they could easily
      be turned back to stables.* *
      *2. Permission for camping* for visitors and volunteers to a maximum of
      30 individuals.
      *3. Permission* *for our personal residence*
      For a easily dismantleable single storey wooden cabin, the size of a
      mobile home. Measurements: 10.7 x 4 m area and 3.6 m high. with no
      permanent foundations, resting on stone/ timber plinths , built in
      module form off site and bolted together. This could be temporary
      permission if needed. It would be sited where the caravan currently is
      and would be hidden from public view.
      There is already permanent permission for the polytunnel and greenhouse.

      I am enclosing their full request for support at the bottom of this
      email & I would ask that you simply seek out ten minutes or so of your
      time to write a short letter of support for their inspiring project. It
      would certainly be one of those ways in which we as individuals /can/
      make a difference! Please note that letters need to be in by *12th
      January*, which I appreciate is /very/ short notice - unfortunately I
      have been fluey for the last week & haven't been in a state to collect
      their email request & pass it on before now. I hope that you are able to
      do this for them & all of us who support what they are doing asap. Thanks.

      Finally (& to confuse matters...), SAP (yes, the other one!! Symondsbury
      Apple Project - based near Bridport) are running a series of Apple
      Pruning Days in the area during January & February. The dates are: 8th &
      22nd January & 5th & 19th February (all Saturdays). These are fairly
      intensive practical (hands-on) one-day courses, open to all abilities.
      David Squirrell who is running the courses has more than 25 years
      experience in pruning & tree care. Cost for the day is £40 which
      includes lunch & drinks (part LETS payment & concessions are available).

      Looking forward to seeing you at an event in 2005....

      Best wishes,

      Aranya


      _Andy & Ella's full request for support_:

      Avalon Permaculture Gardens,
      Barton Rd,
      Butleigh,
      Glastonbury,
      Somerset, BA6 8TL
      01458 850 704

      Dear all
      We have recently put in a planning application for what we are doing
      here at Avalon Permaculture Gardens . If you would like to write a
      letter of support in regards to this application this would be most
      welcome and helpful at this time. Comments on the application are
      invited by the planners at this point. This all happened very quickly
      just before Christmas, which didn't seem like the right time to approach
      anyone. These letters need to be in by 12th of January, so if you would
      like to support this project please write now.
      This is how we describe ourselves in the introductory section of our
      planning application -
      *Avalon Permaculture Gardens
      *Avalon Permaculture Gardens is a permaculture and personal growth
      centre.* *Since 1998, we have been developing the site to serve as an
      educational and training centre, that demonstrates and teaches many
      aspects of sustainable living*.* *
      * We run a range of self help educational and training courses and offer
      individual sessions. On these courses people have direct practical
      experience of permaculture and natural sustainable ways of living in
      harmony with nature, with themselves and with others. All courses and
      sessions give support and tools for growth and for making real and
      healthy changes in life and relationships. The gardens serve as a living
      foundation for all the teaching and personal growth work we do here.
      providing a supportive venue where the principles we teach are
      demonstrated in a very real way.
      The same holistic philosophy underlies both the land management and the
      growth work we offer. It is based on an implicit recognition of our
      being a part of nature, and as such, to find fulfilment as humans we
      need to reconnect with the rhythms of nature and become conscious of
      being part of it again. Our centre and business here revolves around
      this philosophical and practical core.
      *What we do here:*
      • We actively demonstrate permaculture in gardens, orchards and meadow
      areas. We use permaculture practices that work in harmony with nature to
      produce food and bio resources with minimum environmental impact and
      without using chemicals. We are researching and experimenting with
      putting permaculture into practice in our climate and locality.
      • We regularly hold courses, individual sessions and retreats. The
      courses include permaculture, in depth personal growth work,
      relationships and men/ women’s groups. Those who come are both local
      people and from a distance. Many participants stay on site, either
      camping or staying in group space dormitory style or in our caravan.
      • In the gardens and orchards we grow a large proportion of our own food
      and food for the groups and retreats that we run, any surplus is sold
      locally.
      • We maintain and make available all of the gardens, orchard and meadows
      for course participants, volunteers and clients to explore, work in and
      enjoy. A one acre meadow is maintained for group camping and recreation.
      • We provide our own electricity from sun and wind. We have solar heated
      hot water for 7 months of the year. We recycle nearly all our waste,
      composting all natural wastes.
      • We offer the opportunity to come as a volunteer or on work exchange.
      Volunteers and work exchangers learn about organic growing, conservation
      gardening and permaculture through hands on participation.
      * We are applying for:
      1. Retrospective permission for change of use for stables into a small
      visitor’s centre.* These have already been simply converted using
      recycled windows, doors and insulation. This visitors centre to comprise
      a kitchen and eating place, dormitory style accommodation and an
      entrance lobby. This could be temporary permission as they could easily
      be turned back to stables.* *
      *2. Permission for camping* for visitors and volunteers to a maximum of
      30 individuals.
      *3. Permission* *for our personal residence*
      For a easily dismantleable single storey wooden cabin, the size of a
      mobile home. Measurements: 10.7 x 4 m area and 3.6 m high. with no
      permanent foundations, resting on stone/ timber plinths , built in
      module form off site and bolted together. This could be temporary
      permission if needed. It would be sited where the caravan currently is
      and would be hidden from public view.
      There is already permanent permission for the polytunnel and greenhouse.

      * To read further details* of our project and planning application go to
      our web site www.union.source.co.uk

      For those who don't know us we include more information here help
      clarify our situation.. Much of the following information is contained
      in our planning application, but as that is a large document we have
      summarised some information here and added some about the legal situation.
      We, Andy and Ella Portman, as well as being permaculture gardeners, are
      counsellors and group leaders. We have each been working in the area of
      personal growth for around twenty two years. Ella has lived in this part
      of Somerset for thirty years and Andy for eighteen years. The following
      is a short version of why and how we came to be running this
      permaculture and personal growth centre here on the edge of Butleigh
      We had spent many years looking for a way to set up a land based,
      educational and personal growth centre where people could have the
      opportunity to connect with the land, with nature and help people to
      understand themselves in the context of the whole of life. We wanted to
      set up a centre that was a living demonstration of living ecologically,
      sustainably and lightly on the land. This was very much in response to
      the man made ecological crisis facing humanity and the planet at this
      time. We wanted to put permaculture into practice to demonstrate a way
      forward that showed that we, as humans, could live in harmony with
      nature, growing food in a way that also supported wildlife and the
      environment. At the same time we wanted to provide a living and
      supportive foundation for a kind of personal growth that helps people to
      live in harmonious and sustainable ways with each other and the planet.
      When this land came up for auction in September 1998 we felt there was a
      chance that this was a place where we could do this. There was already
      planning permission for a large polytunnel and greenhouse, stables and
      for storage of a caravan.
      For the first two years we came here every day from our rented house in
      Glastonbury. We planted hedges and orchards, started to set up the
      gardens and the polytunnel to grow and sell fruit and vegetables. We
      started to run courses here. We insulated the stables to act as
      undercover kitchen and group space. There was a huge amount of work
      involved and as our life became totally focussed on our work here,
      creating the centre, we started spending more and more time here in
      order to do all that needed to be done. We poured all our time, energy
      and the money we had into developing the site. We found it very
      difficult to do this and maintain a home elsewhere. We were working
      seven days a week here and very long hours. We stayed in the caravan at
      first at weekends and then by February 2001 we took to decision to move
      fully onto the site.
      This wasn’t a decision we took lightly. We wanted to work very much
      within the planning system, but we found ourselves in a difficult
      situation. We researched the planning situation and found that it was
      more or less impossible, at that time in 2001, to get planning
      permission to live on site in such a situation as ours because of the
      functional and financial tests. Basically we found out that if we
      applied to live on site we would at that point fail the tests as we
      weren’t making enough money then (since most of our energy was going
      into site development.). We also found out that it was not illegal to
      move on site :
      We quote from the Planning Policy Guidance 18 Para 6 (our italics):
      *“*Where development is carried out without permission :
      6. In assessing the need for enforcement action, LPAs should bear in
      mind that /it is not an offence to carry out development without first
      obtaining any planning permission required for it. / New section 73A of
      the 1990 Act specifically provides that a grant of planning permission
      may relate to development carried out before the date of the
      application. “ (Information from Chapter 7 www.tlio.org.uk)
      Thus, contrary to popular opinion, it is not illegal to build, convert
      property or live on your land without planning permission. But to do so
      means that you are running the risk of having to undo what you have done
      if the retrospective application fails. We decided that we would take
      the leap and move on in order to free up all our time, energy and money
      to develop our work here. It was not an easy thing to do and we had and
      have no intention of doing anything illegal. What we felt was that we
      would do everything we could to make the site and the centre as good as
      possible and show that the business works and that we do have a
      functional need to be here, when the time came to apply for
      retrospective permission. We are grateful to have had the time to create
      the gardens and develop the courses. the work here is going well and
      touching many people. We feel it can be even more effective and
      successful once planning permission has been granted.
      Please note we are applying for a low impact, simple residence with no
      permanent foundations that is easily dismantleable, and also the stables
      converted for the visitors centre would be easy to dismantle too. We are
      willing to enter into a Section 106 agreement legally binding us to our
      management plan and tying the residential aspect with the land
      management plan. ie managing the land along permaculture principles.
      (For instance Tinkers Bubble in South Somerset have a section 106
      agreement with the council there - called a planning obligation tying
      the planning permission to the land management plan.)
      Permission could be specific to us - ie not to be passed on if we sold.*
      *We do appreciate that there is a need for strict control of development
      in the countryside and feel that by setting any conditions or legal
      agreements that are necessary, including that we adhere to our
      management plan, a way can be found that no precedent is set for
      anything that would have a negative effect.
      The government have recognised the need to develop a diversification of
      businesses in the countryside. These policies are now in effect through
      the new planning guidance in PPS 7. What we would like to be is a
      positive model for the implementation of PPS7’s aims of more sustainable
      and diverse businesses being able to operate in the countryside, in ways
      that enhance the ecology and environment, and positively contribute to
      the local community, the economy and society as a whole.
      *Letter of support*
      If you would like to please write a short letter of support addressed to
      Mendip District Council Planning Department. Application ref 02657 (NC)
      But please send it to us and we will take all the letters there
      together. This way we get copies to use should this go to appeal,
      without having to ask again.. Thanks. These letters need to be in by
      12th January at the latest - so we would be very grateful for a speedy
      return so we can get them there in time. Please note we need a hard copy
      signed letter not an email.
      Points to cover: any or all of the following
      • Any comments you wish to make about this planning application. ( To
      view the application in greater depth visit www.union.source.co.uk )
      • If you have been on any courses or other events or had sessions with
      us you may wish to say something briefly about their value to you
      • Your name and address and anything you want to say about what you do,
      if it feels relevant to adding weight to what you have said.
      Thank you,
      Ella and Andy Portman
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