The following information was prepared for our planning appeals. Our appeals were against Mid Devon District Council's decision to refuse planning permission for our proposed affordable smallholdings for new entrants to ecological farming at Greenham Reach. The appeals were heard by Planning Inspector Jessica Graham who was assigned by the Planning Inspectorate.
The references for our appeals are:
This documentation is in addition to the application documentation which can be downloaded from here.
Planning permission was granted following these appeals and the Decision Notice is available to download.
The ELC's Statement of Case
This provides an overview of our case and was provided to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 26 November 2012.
Mid Devon District Council's Statement of Case
This provides an overview of the Council's case and was provided to PINS on 26 November 2012.
Statement of Common Ground
This provides factual information about the Appeal Scheme that both parties agree. For example, planning history, site location, highways, and access. This was provided to PINS on 18 January 2013. Please contact zoe @ ecologicalland.coop for any of the appendices.
Proofs of Evidence
These are the statements prepared by the Council's and ELC's witnesses. They were provided to PINS on 4 January 2013. Please contact zoe @ ecologicalland.coop for any of the appendices:
The ELC's Managing Director, Zoe Wangler, sets out the reasons for the Scheme and why she believes the appeals are supported by planning policy.
Horticulturalist and agricultural appraiser Rebecca Laughton sets out why the prospective farmers/growers need to live on site - a requirement of planning policy.
Roger Hitchings, soil scientist and senior consultant at Elm Farm Organic Research Centre considers the suitability of the site for the proposed farm businesses. This is in response to the Council's argument that the site, and its soil specifically, are not suited to horticulture.
Dr. Larch Maxey of Plymouth University's Institute of Sustainability Solutions Research outlines Low Impact Development - the type of development proposed here - and evidence that Low Impact Developments deliver on the planning policy requiring all of us to live 'within the planet’s environmental limits'.
Finally, Dr. Julia Wright, Deputy Director of Coventry University's Centre for Agroecology and Food Security sets out the benefits of ecologically based farming practices and considers the extent to which the Appeal Scheme would demonstrate such practices.
Peter Rowan of Rowan Edwards Town Planning Consultants sets out why he believes the planning applications do not comply with planning policy.
Agricultural appraiser Adrian Berryman of ACORUS argues the opposite of Rebecca Laughton (above), that there is no need for the farmers/growers to live on site. He also argues that the applications do not meet other elements of emerging plan policy DM/10, for example, disagreeing with our finding that each holding would provide employment for at least 1 Full-Time-Equivalent.
The ELC produced two rebuttal proofs addressing a number of new matters raised in the Council's evidence. The two rebuttal proofs were provided to PINS on 22 January 2013.
Zoe Wangler addresses: the evidence on viability presented By Adrian Berryman; evidence that a planning appeal for ‘Plot B’ is not justified, again presented by Adrian Berryman; and evidence that policy requires existing functional need or an existing rural business, presented by Rowan Edwards Town Planning Consultants.
Roger Hitchings addresses evidence on the labour requirements of the smallholdings presented by Adrian Berryman.
The ELC's Opening Submission (to the Inspector)
This provides an overview of our barrister's case (Phil McLeish) and was made at the opening of the Inquiry on 29 January 2013.
The Council's Closing Submission (to the Inspector)
This was made by the Council's barrister, Peter Wadsley at the closing of the Inquiry on 31 January 2013.
The ELC's Closing Submission (to the Inspector)
This was made by our barrister, Phil McLeish, at the closing of the Inquiry on 31 January 2013.
Speakers from Public Gallery during Inquiry
(all were supportive, no one attended to object)
In order of appearance:
Richard Wiltshire, local and member of Sustainable Villages
Gill Gale, local and member of Sustainable Villages
Peter Bowers, local and member of Sustainable Villages
Chris Smaje, small organic farmer at Vallis Veg, Somerset and author of the 'Small Farm Future' blog
Chris Vernon, climate scientist, engineer, blogger and editor of The Oil Drum
Erica Thompson, climate scientist and contributor to the UK Energy Research Centre's Technology and Policy Assessment on Global Oil Depletion (pdf)
Jyoti Fernandez, small organic farmer at Five Penny Farm, Dorset (part of the Peasants Evolution Producers Co-op), editor of The Land magazine and founding member, Via Campesina UK
Gill Wescott, local Parish Councillor
David Washington, newly graduated from agricultural college, WWOOFer in Dorset
Hugh Chapman, small organic farmer at Longmeadow Farm, Dorset