One Planet Development Appeal Wednesday 17th September at Abersystwyth County Offices.

Rob and I have now endured OPD appeal number 2 (for us)- whilst less well attended and with less local opposition than that of the O’Kane’s, Cornerwood’s was just as difficult if not more so.

Cerdigion appointed consultant from Reading Agricultural Consultants: http://www.readingagricultural.co.uk

Applying his own cultural references of larger main stream agriculture the whole appeal set off in a twisted way and continued to wind itself up into an ever and ever tightening ordeal. Uninformed about OPD, low impact living and ecological foot printing, he picked away needlessly at Cornerwood’s application wasting a whole lot of time and proving a lack of basic understanding about grey water management, soil building and food production in woodland, developing micro enterprises and living at subsistence level, operating in a barter, exchange, recycling world and receiving gifts such as that of animal manure from neighbours: an act he stated was unsustainable. Ceridigion’s chief planner whose name I didn’t get (we were a bit late) openly criticised Paul Wimbush for not advising Cornerwood and other OPD applicants to get a bio-diversity report and a string of other reports from “competent” experts.

The usual call for rigorous and robust evidence for the purpose of monitoring fell on the ears of despairing land workers. Lammas residents Jude, Andy and Jane Wells were present.

Simon Dale (www.simondale.net) and Jay Abrahams (Biologic Design) gave verbal reports as competent people on permaculture methods, small scale woodland management coppice work, waste management and buildings.

Cornerwood defended themselves brilliantly, I felt. (Defence is the right word – it was an attack) and Paul Wimbush did a sterling job to support – clearly exercising tolerance and patience to the bitter end although this was clearly becoming effortful as the day unfolded.

The Welsh Assembly Inspectorate man ticked off both sides for bringing information to the appeal at the last minute but seemed especially irritated with Ceridigion – there was a legal question and no legal representative from the council.

It is protocol to complete a land visit which he did the next day. He will go away and as he said tick boxes, “this is just a tick boxing exercise”.

We await the result, due in 6 weeks. Spirits at the hub at Lammas were good when we visited two days later. No one was letting it get them down so I’ll try not to either. A must do experience for the would be OPD applicant but it comes with a serious health warning!

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