Penrhos Home PagePenrhos home page site mapSite MapPlanning stuff

[This document was prepared as part of the process of renewing our temporary planning permission in November 1994. It has been regularly revised and updated and the latest version can be found here.]

[Quick contents.




The criteria outlined below contain a range of measures which we consider to be essential in the assessment of whether a holding is sustainable in economic, social and environmental terms. In simple terms we could describe a holding as sustainable if it produces more resources than it consumes.


A. Permaculture Design for the site.

A design appropriate to the specific qualities of the site, occupant and locality which contains the strategy by which a sustainable holding is achieved. (NB. not just what it will look like but how it will be achieved).

The Permaculture Design is a key component in measuring the success, (i.e.. sustainability), of that strategy and the system.

A design, (in the form of say text, maps, illustrations, photographs), would outline the occupants strategy in the short, medium and long, (say 50-100 years), term.

It would demonstrate how the occupant planned to implement, (establish), the system and would provide a means of measuring progress.

The design would set realistic targets for achieving sustainability.

It is important to see that the a Permaculture Design is not just about how the site will look but about how it will be achieved; this involves setting targets, establishing priorities, developing the equivalent of cashflows, planning investment and monitoring progress.

It is flexible and should change to take advantage of unforeseen effects.



B. The Occupants.

The occupants should have a theoretical and practical understanding of sustainable systems.

The occupants should have a good working knowledge of sustainable systems, (Permaculture), and how to design systems that are appropriate to the specific qualities of both the site and themselves.



C. Community integration.

The occupants would be integrated with the existing community.

This integration would deepen as the system developed. It would reflect the occupants commitment to the local community.

Integration could be demonstrated by actions such as;


D. Income.

The occupant should be able to generate from the holding a level of income which is adequate for their personal needs and sufficient to allow for the continued implementation of the design.

The income would be a poly-income, generated from several related business activities, (up to say four or five), which would be derived from the unique qualities of the occupant, site and locality. One or more of the poly-incomes may be generated from off-site work within the community; this would also demonstrate community integration.



E. The site and the environment.

The following criteria relate to sustainable landuse and are applicable irrespective of the detail of any particular design; they still apply. Strategies for achieving these criteria would be covered in the design for the site. These criteria could be assessed after say a three year period by a competent ecologist. They could be checked at subsequent intervals, perhaps 10 or 25 years.

If these criteria are not fulfilled, the site cannot be considered sustainable.








F. General notes:

To a certain extent when looking at sustainable holdings the occupants cannot be separated out from the site nor the site from the locality; assessing whether the holding is "successful", (i.e. sustainable or moving towards sustainability) is not only a question of looking at what has been done on the ground but also how the occupant and site fit into and enliven the local community.

By local and locality is meant; if goods, (for example plant material or seeds), or services are required that cannot be produced on site, they are searched for first within the very local community; for example, Llanfachreth. If not obtainable here then the search moves out to neighbouring communities, in this example, Ganllwyd, Hermon or Rhydymain. Next would be the wider community of the Dolgellau area and only if unobtainable at this level would the buying in from other areas be considered. It is the action of searching that will generate the work locally which in turn keeps money and investment circulating at a local level; this is a crucial aspect of sustainable development.

It takes time. Sustainability cannot be achieved over night. It requires the re-generation of patterns of living and working within the community that have suffered serious erosion over the past fifty years. The Permaculture Design will take these challenges into account and provide realistic targets with times, (deadlines), within which these targets can be achieved.


Back to planning 1994


Penrhos Home PagePenrhos home page site mapSite MapPlanning stuff