Please support a sustainable local food initiative in Frome by writing in support of our Planning Appeal! The details are in 'How you can help' below.
Since suspending our box scheme and having our planning application for a temporary agricultural dwelling in support of our business turned down by Mendip District Council late in 2012 we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future of the project, and are now re-comitting to the vision that was outlined in our planning application – growing and selling vegetables locally, raising small amounts of livestock sustainably as part of the overall farming system, experimenting with sustainable small-scale farming methods, and making our site available to people through visits, courses and community events. So we’re hoping to relaunch the business fully in 2014.
However, in order to deliver on the vision it’s clear to us that we do need to be living on the site – we’ve therefore submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against Mendip’s refusal of planning permission, which will be determined at a hearing later this year.
How you can help
If you like what we’re doing, you can help us by writing in support of our application to the Planning Inspectorate. If you already wrote to Mendip previously in support of us, the Planning Inspector will see your letter (we received 116 letters of support, and 6 letters of objection) so duplicating it isn’t necessary. But it would be helpful if you could write to the Inspectorate explaining why you disagree with Mendip’s decision (you can read more about Mendip’s decision in ‘More details’ below).
Here’s how you can submit your comments online:
1. Go to this link on the Planning Inspectorate's website
2. Enter our appeal number APP/Q3305/A/13/2196614 in the ‘Case reference’ field of the search form
3. Click on the Case reference number to bring up our appeal details and then scroll down the page to the ‘Comment on this case’ link (in small letters at the bottom of the page!)
4. Write your comments...(start them by saying "I support the proposals because...")
Things you could mention (in your own words!):
- there is an essential need for someone to be on site day-round and year-round because the core production systems in sustainable horticulture are complex and labour intensive
- our project will be good for the local community – not just because it will help a small local business to thrive, but because it will enable us to extend our supportive working with other businesses such as Shared Earth Learning and the Recycled Wood Project, and to extend the community events that we hold on the site
- our project is a worthwhile experiment in small-scale agroecology or ‘permaculture’ farming – onsite residence will enable us to reduce vehicle use, lower our carbon footprint, benefit the local economy and community and enhance the countryside
The deadline for sending comments to the Inspectorate is 14 June 2013
You can read Mendip’s decision and our response in our Grounds for Appeal and Hearing Statement from the menus to the left. The only objection to our proposals raised by Mendip is that they don’t think there is an ‘essential need’ for us to be on site – in their view, we can run the business successfully from our present home about a mile away from it. Therefore, in their words, “the proposal would result in the proliferation of unjustified residential development in the countryside which will foster the growth in the need to travel, fail to benefit the local economy and fail to maintain the environment”.
We’ve set out in great detail in our application and our appeal why we think there is an essential need for us to be on site. The proof of the pudding is that there are no economically self-sustaining small market gardens to our knowledge that have been run successfully long term without onsite residence – we’ve asked Mendip to provide us with details of any that they know of, but they haven’t responded. Also, we think that onsite residence will cause less need to travel, and by enabling a sustainable farm business to survive it will benefit the economy and help to maintain the environment.
Many thanks for your help!