A beautiful 3.27 ha woodland plot near Bethlehem, in the Breacon Beacons National Park, Wales, is available for a family who would like to pursue the One Planet Development (OPD) route as part of a 2-household shared equity co-housing scheme. The main growing area is split in two; a 0.10 ha area which includes the house plot, and a separate 0.06 ha area. The woodland coppice comprises a total 3.10 ha with both south and north facing mixed native broadleaf. The OPD plot is therefore suitable for wood related and smaller land based horticulture businesses.
The plot is within a larger 30 ha woodland called Coed Talylan with a 15 ha nature conservation area and part of the remaining 15ha designated for another approved OPD is going through the final stages of aquiring planning permission (already approved by committee). The existing OPD plot is run by James and Sara. James runs a small mushroom business and Sara a woodwork enterprise. They have two children (4 and 8) and hope another family with children, or planning to have children, may join. As the layout of the OPD areas are aggregated in different parts of the woodland and also consists of shared infrastructure, the prospective OPD plot holders must be interested in working co-operatively to manage resources beyond being just neighbours. The two OPD plots are also a part of the wider objectives of the Land Trust and any prospective family must therefore also be interested in working together as stewards for the wider areas within the 15 ha development area. It is welcomed, but not required, that the other OPD takes an interest in the management of the separate 15 ha conservation area.
Therefore, this OPD is suitable for a family that is interested in woodland life and conservation, while also sharing part of its day to day life with another family and co-operating in meeting subsistence targets while also having their own separate dwelling, businesses and daily routines to attend to.
Besides being a location for a sustainable low impact home Coed Talylan has been growing into a small course centre for learning and sharing knowledge about alternative and natural ways of meeting the challenges of the environmental crisis. The courses on carpentry and mushroom cultivation, one planet development and renewable energy technology have been running over the past three years. If prospective OPD participants are interested in this aspect of the project they would be welcome to run courses as part of their business activities. A prospective OPD holder must therefore also be prepared to have groups of people come to the woodland and be accomodated in the designated areas for the courses.
The house design for a second OPD must follow similar design features as for the first house. The design for the low impact zero carbon house was based on the following considerations: The access road to the land is national park land. The easement of access negotiated with the park is based on the dwelling being of temporary nature regulated by the caravan act. This means that the house will have to comply with max. dimensions of 6.8 m x 20 m single storey and must be built as if it could be disassembled in no more than two pieces. A public foot path above the woodland necessitates a house design that blends in with the land, e.g. mono-pitch and green roof as well as natural cladding. The dwelling must be built at a designated plot as this was already ‘disturbed’ land. The benefit to going down the caravan act is that no building control process is necessary. Within the above restrictions the new OPD holders are welcome to adapt their dwelling design. The OPD dwelling design for Plot 1 is an adaptation of an open source OPD design and can be viewed upon request.
On the site there is a spring with good water pressure, and a small barn with planning permission for extensions, and also a dug-in green house. The barn was already converted to a mushroom laboratory by the last owner of the land and this is where James is running his business. However, a much larger extension is a part of the first OPD planning application which will be a shared space under a co-housing agreement. This barn could include a small micro dairy facility, food and seed drying and a mushroom grow room. There is also a small tractor to use for woodland work, PV panels and a mini-grid for power supply as well as trackways and access to water throughout.
Coed Talylan Land Trust is a community benefit soceity with agroecological principles at heart. The two OPD schemes are to managed through an equity stake housing co-operative that will have a long term lease of the land designated for OPD. The land trust is currently benefitting from a single investor but will refinance this in the autumn 2021 through a membership share-offer.
As we have already taken the first OPD through planning, all the main planning surveys have been carried out. House drawings and maps are also available for use. Therefore a new planning pre-application can be submitted relatively quickly. It is also worth mentioning, that despite being in the national park, the first OPD was agreed at committee unanimously.
If you are interested in this opportunity please fill in this Expresion of Interest form:
Looking forward to hearing from you.
James and Sara