' the Woodlouse: May 2010


Monday, 17 May 2010

Planning issues - Part 3

I think when I first read the Local Plan planning policy documents I was either in a very optimistic mood, or reading late at night when my mind was shutting down, or quite likely both.  The positive bits of policy I thought would apply straightforwardly to our eventual planning application now seem to me not quite so clear-cut.  But there are still helpful statements in the local plan and also some Regional and National planning guidance that could help us get the go ahead once we’ve found a site. 

The Local Plan allows for limited development outside the DDB (Defined Development Boundary) of a town/village in certain cases.  Here are those that I think could apply to our scheme:

  • Dwellings for which there is proven local need (either for affordable housing – which won’t help us in our application, or essential rural workers dwellings – which might be relevant to us)
  • On site replacement of dwellings
  • Conversion/replacement of buildings
  • Employment development
  • Tourist, recreation or community facilities appropriate to a rural area.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Planning issues - Part 2

What is our scheme, and why would we need to build outside the DDB (Defined Development Boundary – see last blog, Planning issues – part 1)?

We want to build ourselves a home and place to work.  We want it to be built using as sustainable materials as possible, and to have as little impact as possible both on the actual site and on the environment in general.  Practically this means building with straw-bales, sustainably grown timber, little or no concrete.  We’ll be aiming for as high a rating as possible according to the Code for Sustainable Homes which details high specifications for energy efficiency, insulation, energy use and ventilation (I’m likely to write more about this in later blogs, along with more about building and materials, as I find out more).

It’ll be a single story, green-roofed home, with a separate building for workshop and a massage (and other) treatment room on site.  The wood-fired pottery kiln would also be on site.  I want to try and grow most (if not all) of the wood for firing it on site as coppice.  BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) website indicates that 5 acres of coppice should produce up to 6 tonnes of mixed hardwood a year (once mature), which is equivalent to 2 firings a year of a large kiln (provided I get the design right, the wood is well seasoned, and the kiln works well!).