We are fully aware of the many challenges in obtaining residential planning permission in the open countryside. However, thanks to the pioneering foresight of the Welsh government a planning framework to support low-impact rural developments known as One Planet Development is in place to guide applications that seek to demonstrate the ecological benefits from the creation of sustainable land based livelihoods. Furthermore, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act came into law on 29 April 2015. As a result the new version of the Planning Bill for Wales says planning decisions must be: “part of carrying out sustainable development in accordance with [the act], for the purpose of ensuring that the development and use of land contribute to improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.” We are confident that our application will provide an exemplary model of development in accordance with these aspirations.
Planning application work has started
We are now (spring 2016) about to start the processes of developing our planning application with the necessary surveying, consultation and land management plan. We are also steadily building our rural enterprises and businesses that will demonstrate the functional need and land based enterprise for residential permission in accordance with the OPD framework.
We intend to apply for a building to serve as a communal kitchen and living space with adjacent wash facilities as a “single residential unit” ancillary to 5 years temporary permission for 2 low-impact dwellings. In support of this development we will also seek permission for a wood processing shed, composting toilets, a grey-water treatment system, a micro hydro and a food processing unit.
We are thankful to have the support of the One Planet Council and other advisors as we take on this challenge. We also appreciate the necessity to utilise the experience and knowledge of the local Planning Officers to review the viability of such an application in light of this experimental model of rural regeneration and we will therefore engage with the local planning authority through pre-planning enquiries. We aim to submit a pre planning application in September-October. Although we have visions for Red Pig Farm, the outcome of a preplanning application might mean adjustments to our designs and land management plans.
OPD precedens in Carmarthenshire
Red Pig Farm is in the Brecon Beacons National Park and we will be working closely together with the National Park authorities to produce the first OPD small holding in the Breacon Beacons. Although the National Park is an authority in its own right, it is tied to Carmarthenshire County. Last winter, the first succesful OPD applicant was granted permission in Carmarthenshire which means that there is precedens for OPD in the county which will greatly strengthen our case for permission here at Red Pig Farm.