Planning permission has finally been granted to Greenham Reach Small-holdings as part of the Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC) in Devon after a four year journey.
The three residential smallholdings are to be made accessible to people who want to work on the land but normally would not be able to afford the high price of land. They will be built as part of the ELC's aim to save land from being intensively managed.
The ELC buy land that has been, or is at risk of being, intensively managed, and convert it into affordable land for people who have the skills to manage the area ecologically. This enables more environmental farming and provides jobs and homes.
The ELC bought land in Devon in 2009 and have encountered various challenges along their journey to transforming the land. They were refused planning permission in June 2012 by the District Council who believed it unnecessary for those working the land to live on it.
But the Inspector deciding the ELC's appeal disagreed, valuing the co-operative model and the research and monitoring of, amongst other things, changes in biodiversity and productivity, which will be delivered alongside the smallholdings.
Shaun Chamberlin, director of the ELC said: "All of us at the ELC are delighted that our years of work have finally met with tangible success. Now we can put planning bureaucracy on one side and get on with the work we've really been wanting to do all along - both supporting new ecological smallholders and working with universities and researchers to document the many benefits they bring for both society and the wider ecological community. Our first priority now is getting the Greenham Reach project set up, but in future we have every intention of replicating this success elsewhere."
ELC are also now 'officially' open for applications for the remaining smallholdings. To spply see: http://ecologicalland.coop/apply-smallholding
Watch: Living the dream - a new ecovillage film about Lammas in Wales.