Parents bidding to live sustainably with child off land near Llandeilo have application shot down
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A family who wanted to cultivate 70 crops on land they own, and live on it with minimal environmental impact, have had their application shot down by councillors against officer advice.
Stephen Morris submitted an application for a 1.2-hectare site north of Llandeilo to Carmarthenshire Council under the Welsh Government’s One Planet Development policy.
The scheme was recommended for approval by council officers but a majority of the council’s planning committee voted against it.
Objecting councillors said they didn’t think the applicant, his partner, and child needed to live on site, especially as no livestock were going to be kept there, only ducks and hens.
They were worried about how the project, if approved, would be monitored – and they strongly questioned the independence of an appraisal of the scheme which was commissioned by the council.
Council officers refuted the independence suggestion with one saying the planning department had told the authors of the appraisal to seek further information before producing a second final report.
A legal officer said the appraisal concluded that the scheme would comply with One Planet Development policies and that if the committee turned the application down the appraisal document “will be trotted out” at appeal should the applicant take that course of action.
Cllr Kevin Madge, who voted in favour of the application, said it would be “awful” if the council had costs awarded against it at appeal and that he was “appalled” at the refusal decision and the reasons to justify it.
Council committee chairman, Cllr Alun Lenny, said: “I regret to say I agree with you, Cllr Madge.”
The application set out how the land would be divided into zones covering horticultural and re-wilding areas, a forest garden, beehives, and willow and wildflower meadow. A timber-clad three-bedroom property with a turfed roof was also proposed plus outbuildings.
The report before the committee said the site was estimated to produce 44% of the food needs of the three-strong household. A further 21% would be bought from income derived from activities on the land such as music therapy sessions and vegetable boxes for sale locally. This combined figure of 65% would meet a policy requirement about basic food needs.
There were 43 letters of support for Mr Morris’ application and nine objections, including from Manordeilo and Salem Community Council.
Ward county councillor Joseph Davies, who is also on the planning committee, said he had worked on the land in question years ago and that on occasions it had been too wet to cultivate silage.
It was not, he said, “easily workable”.
He added: “I would question that an area this size would satisfy a family of three.”
Cllr Davies’s proposal to vote against the scheme was seconded by Cllr Gareth Thomas who said it would be more environmentally friendly if the applicants lived in an existing house nearby rather than building a dwelling on site.
“I don’t think what’s before us is in the spirit of OPD (One Planet Development policy),” he said. “To me this does not stack up.”
Cllr Madge said the applicants deserved a shot at making a success of the proposal.
“These people want to have a go at this, we can see the enthusiasm they have,” he said. “I only feel we should be giving them the opportunity.”
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One planet Development is basically cheap housing for English hippy types who want to call themselves ‘farmers’. Please councils consider the needs of local young families in rural areas and sustainable building plans. Not this Welsh Labour’ version of living off the land for England’s drop outs.
Drop out is a nasty, lazy sneering term, and bringing nationality into it is just a cheap shot.
It’s not like they are ex merchant bankers depriving a local family of a home.
Would a young Welsh family trying to live a more environmentaly responsible life be acceptable?
Perhaps you just have a problem with ‘hippy’ types and assume that they are all lazy, dirty drug-riddled ne’re-do-wells?
Spot on Erisian!
A lot of this sort of stuff on this site!
You assume many things, having researched this sector and met many of them I am very familiar with the concept and although idealistic it has no practicality in tackling rural housing shortage and homes for the likes of myself and many others who cannot afford to buy in our milltir sgwar.. If you think that your rural contractor with 2. 5 kids and a wife trying to make ends meet as a part time carer can also , as OPD insists make a living from a tiny parcel of land, as is compulsory , you my friend are in cloud… Read more »
The druggies are home grown round here, apart from those dumped here of course…yet another example of colonisation.
“Want to Save the Planet? Move to Wales”. Thats what the Gov. associates
Get a life!
Long hair, sandals and novel beliefs…your talking about Jesus !
And like Jesus he won’t be Welsh speaking or teach his kids Welsh as they will be homeschooled as they will only be integrated into their ‘community. ‘. Not the host ( as Jesus was!!) And no, I am not anti English, count many English as best friends and mix in many alternative circles . Many English who want rural bliss are really proactive in the host community and pro Cymraeg But OPD is hogwash and greenwash.
Your off your trolley love !
Sorry Gill I don’t know you so I should not have said that…take care
Why would anyone think that there would ever be “A welcome in the hillsides” with comments like yours? Presumably by your comments there are no Welsh people who might just wish to make a living off a plot of land ,seeking no benefit from the state? Do you want to ban any visitors as well in case they might support the local economy?
Working class Welsh people are being marginalised in rural and urban areas by Gvt inaction, neo liberalism, property speculation, and clinging on to precarious living, ..English people moving in have far more financial clout. And if you think that a few people living in a field growing willow to weave baskets is going to mitigate climate change or reinvigorate rural areas, you are mistaken.if you think that the street in a town in mid Wales full of Airbnb helps the economy and creates a sustainable community, you are mistaken. A house costing 90 k last year is now for sale… Read more »
That comment is racist – what a shame.
It’s possible to argue, like Gill, against the OPD policy – but this is not the real point exposed by this story. It reads to me like a group of councillors deciding that they will reinterpret and/or ignore the policy, because of their own prejudice (which perhaps might be a bit like Gill’s expressed views). Officers of the council have clearly advised members that the policy requirements are met – and on the basis of this report I would agree with the committee chair that it should have been granted. I hope the applicants appeal, when they are very likely… Read more »
Call it prejudice, but i have done the required research for years and met the people. OPD is not the way forward for sustainable Welsh speaking communities. That is a fact, its a lifestyle choice for English people who cannot afford land in England. Nothing racialist only facts..unfortunately no radically holistic or sustainable housing solutions will come out of a Welsh county council planning committee, the ability of the councillors is below par. All they know ix to give planning to butties’ southfork 5 bedroom houses, trashy housing association homes which are too small and massive executive home estates unsuitable… Read more »
It is absolutely vital that any future Welsh Government repeals TAN 6 legislation and scraps the One Planet Development scam, for the simple reason that it is of no value to local people and merely encourages eco-colonialism. The lack of scrutiny of such developments also increases the risk of OPDs being used as a cheap way of getting a holiday home through the back door. This has already happened in a number of instances, with no intervention by the local authority or the WG..