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Greenham Reach Smallholdings

In April 2013 the ELC was granted permission to develop three affordable - and residential - smallholdings for new entrants to ecological agriculture.

Greenham Reach was the first cluster smallholding developed by the Ecological Land Cooperative.The land near the village of Holcombe Rogus in Mid-Devon was bought in 2009, and obtained permanent planning permission in 2018. The 22-acre site was previously used as grazing and intensively managed arable, and contains ecologically sensitive habitats including rare lowland meadow.

Background

A 5 year planning permission was given for the project on the 18th of April 2013, granting the development of three separate residential agricultural workers’ dwellings, each tied to an agricultural holding of between 5.5 and 8.5 acres. The permission allowed ELC to use the 22 acre greenfield site for 3 farm businesses including construction of a barn, track and 3 temporary agricultural workers' dwellings - one dwelling for each smallholding.  You can read these applications here.

The ELC offered the smallholdings on long-term tenure to three ecological food and herb producers, subject to compliance with a rigorous site Management Plan. Although each smallholding operates as a separate business, the ELC has overall responsibility for compliance with the terms of both the Management Plan and the planning permission (i.e. the planning conditions) working with the smallholders to ensure that this is achieved.
 

Site Development

Since being granted permission the ELC has; recruited smallholders for the three plots, constructed the shared facilities including a timber frame barn, off grid solar electricity generation, rainwater harvesting system and shared access track; monitored the site and worked with the planning authority to discharge the planning conditions. 

The smallholders have sited their temporary accommodation (caravans) and have established their farm businesses as well as improving the communal areas of the site with  new wildlife habitats, hedgerows and shelterbelts.

 

A New Beginning at Greenham Reach

At the beginning of 2022 one set of smallholders moved away from the site and sold their lease back to the ELC. A new application process has been launched to select new stewards to take over the lease and begin to establish their own land based business on the plot. 
 

Application Process

Our stewards go through a rigorous application process including an assessment of their business plans for financial viability. Where all other things are equal and criteria are met, we will give weight to applications from people with pre-existing local connections over those from further away. As a cooperative we believe strongly in equality and our recruitment process for new tenants for our farms looks at their passion and capability to do a good job building an ecological small farm business above all else.

 

Monitoring at our Smallholdings
Each year the ELC is required to report to the local planning authority (Mid Devon District Council) on progress at the site.

Our fifth annual monitoring report is now available to download. You can also download our firstsecond, third and fourth annual monitoring reports.