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[prepared for the 2000 application for a low impact dwelling for a permaculture (sustainable) holding

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Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri

Swyddfa Parc Cenedlaethol




Dear People,

Please find herein our application and details of our proposal for a dwelling at Tir Penrhos Isaf. We have been awaiting latest reports from various organisations and further details regarding the application from the Authority itself, hence the delay.

As we have always said, sustainable development cannot and should not be rushed. It is essential that adequate time be given for the creative development of productive systems and also to provide better opportunities for consultation. At present the Authority offers no easy way for applicants to communicate with the committee itself. This seems unfortunate as it is here that confusions or misunderstandings can be most easily explained.

Partly for these reasons, we have decided at this stage to apply for outline permission for a dwelling but have included detailed elevations and plans to indicate our intentions. This will allow the opportunity for consultation and further developments in this area, such as the Welsh Assembly report due out in January 2001. It will also allow the necessary functional test and financial assessment to be carried out.



Outline planning permission for a low impact dwelling for a Permaculture



Low Impact Dwelling

By low impact is meant that the dwelling has low environmental impact in terms of its visual impact, materials, methods of construction, maintenance and removal (please see attached plans). It is understood that a more precise definition of low impact development may be forthcoming with the publication of the Welsh Assembly report into sustainable development, due out in January 2001. Due to the nature of the proposal and the fact that it represents an increasing awareness of and need for sustainable development, the application deals with materials, external appearance and construction methods rather than definitive plans. This will allow for a period of consultation with the Authority in order to finalise the design details mutually .


By Permaculture is meant the sustainable design system embodied in the stated ethics and principles of (in the United Kingdom) the registered national charity, the Permaculture Association, Britain, and as defined by the local Mawddach Permaculture Group which is an arm of the national charity. Please refer to previous applications for further details on Permaculture Design.



It is proposed that planning permission should be granted according to the following conditions:

That the dwelling and the land should be tied together as a unit and should not be allowed to be sold separately.

That the granting of planning permission should be dependant on the continued use of the site as a Permaculture holding, as measured by the attached criteria. Should the holding fail, at any time in the future, to meet these criteria, then planning permission should be withdrawn and the low impact dwelling removed.


Summary description.


We, the applicants, have been developing the site as a sustainable Permaculture holding since we purchased the land in 1986. We have lived on the holding since 1991 on successive temporary planning permissions. During that time successive yields have been introduced and marketed successfully. We now consider that the holding is capable of proving itself sufficiently viable to merit an application for a dwelling as defined above.

As described in previous applications for temporary permission, the holding generates positive environmental, social and economic benefits in sustainable ways. Income is derived from multiple yields through the combination of interconnected, small, land-based businesses which are mutually supportive (eg. horse training supplies polytunnel with manure for compost in which organic vegetables are grown for sale which is an educational resource on courses).

Each business activity is derived from combinations of the unique attributes, skills or qualities of the site, the applicants and the community. They include essential local services and products (organic food, plants, education in sustainable development) and high value export services and products (horse training, specialist plants).

It is understood that yields and hence activities may change over time in order to adapt to alterations in conditions (such as changes in markets, climate, public awareness, new techniques or methods of production). Any subsequent businesses will be measured against the criteria for sustainable development attached hereto.

We feel that multiple yields are entirely in keeping with traditional farming (prior to supported agriculture); Penrhos Uchaf, for example (one mile away and now derelict) successfully produced vegetables for sale in Ganllwyd and raised a wide variety of livestock and poultry. The hardships of pre-support agriculture can now be greatly reduced through the use of modern techniques and materials (such as a polytunnel or water proof, breathable clothing and footwear).

Multiple yields also encourage community activity, as a variety of markets and opportunities arise which require community involvement. It is also entirely in keeping with current calls from MAFF for greater diversification of products from farms.

In the fourteen years since we have worked this holding, we have received no grants or support payments of any sort. We have also been unable to secure loans to fund development due to the temporary nature of the permission. We have therefore funded much of our work through the holding itself and our own physical efforts. The few occasions that have required extra investment capital, such as the polytunnel and the equine aspect of the holding, have required outside work to generate this money. This has the disadvantage that time on the holding is reduced which is a classic model of the drain of energy from the land and local communities that has continued now for many decades. We are now in a position to reverse that trend and generate our livelihoods from the holding without the need for regular outside work, given that we are permitted to live here on a permanent basis.

We consider that we have shown huge commitment to the site and the locality over the last fourteen years. This includes considerable investment in terms of time and money, such as the planting of well over 4000 plants for environmental and economic purposes, extensive fencing, construction using local materials, gaining further qualifications. We have also accepted living conditions that would be considered to be below average in modern terms because we believe in what we are doing. We would ask that all the above should be taken to be evidence that we are totally serious in our intentions to both live and demonstrate sustainable livelihoods.

We fully understand, and agree completely with the Authority's concerns with regard to inappropriate development and consider that the application as defined herein provides strong controls. We consider that by granting successive temporary permissions the Authority has approved our work and actively encouraged us to continue our development of the site as described in previous proposals. We ask therefore that the application be judged on its own merits taking into account the work which we have carried out over the last fourteen years.

Yours sincerely,


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