The Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) is a social enterprise and not-for-profit community benefit society set up in 2009 to address the lack of opportunities for new entrants to ecological farming and horticulture.

The ELC purchased a 7.5-hectare field in the village of Arlington, in the village of Arlington, East Sussex. We are seeking permission to establish three affordable residential smallholdings for new entrants to ecological agriculture.

Specifically, we are seeking a 5-year consent for: three temporary agricultural worker dwellings; a single timber-framed barn with a roof-mounted PV array and two adjoining rainwater storage tanks; hardstanding; and changes to the access.

The ELC has to-date established one project, Greenham Reach (pictured below), a cluster of three affordable smallholdings in Mid Devon district on a 8.85 hectare site.

Greenham Reach is now occupied by three families each operating a small farm business from their holding. The 8.85 hectare site provides five full-time jobs in agriculture, and organic, local produce to shops and restaurants and directly to customers. As of November 2016, the smallholders at Greenham Reach had between them hosted 4 school visits and 14 educational, open and work days, reaching some 390 participants. There has been over £130,000 of investment into the farm businesses, 9,000 kwh of renewable energy generated and site wide improvements in soil health.

Photos: Greenham Reach smallholdings

The ELC’s first project has won wide-spread support including being featured as a CPRE case study, as a way of delivering diversity, sustainability and resiliance.

You can read more about who we are, our vision and existing projects in the "About Us" section of our website or watch a short film about us.

Our application for planning permission has now been validated by Wealden Council and there will be a public consultation period, ending 27 April in which the Council will receive comments from both statutory consultees (such as Arlington Parish Council) and the public. At the end of the consultation period, Wealden Council’s planning officer will either make a decision as to whether the application should or should not be allowed, or they will make a recommendation but refer the decision to the Planning Committee.

The planning application documentation is available both on our website page Arlington Planning Application and via Wealden Council’s Planning and Building Control Register (search for application no. WD/2017/0340/F)

We have produced a series of webpages and downloads with more information:

The following may also be of interest:

I have worked for over five years with the Ecological Land Cooperative, supporting their initial project and collaborating with them on various working groups, initiatives and events to encourage low impact, agro-ecological farming, opportunities for new entrants to farming and access to land and rural housing issues. They are an innovative and proactive organisation that is pioneering new ways of addressing some of the most challenging issues facing the development of better food and farming in the UK.

Rachel Harries, Soil Association

Attachment Size
Small Farm training group ELC Support letter 83.63 KB
Soil Association Letter of Support Ecological Land Coop 1021.97 KB
Common Cause Letter of Support to ELC 26.87 KB
Action in Rural Sussex - Letter of Support 179.87 KB
Tenant Farmers Association ELC letter of support 387.14 KB
Plunkett Foundation Letter of Support 567.53 KB
Sustainable Food Trust letter of support 1.25 MB
Coventry University Letter of Support 343.08 KB
Sustain Letter of Support 104.37 KB