Following the successful establishment of several intentional
sustainable communities such as - to name but a few - Tinkers' Bubble
in Somerset, Stewardwood in Devon and most recently at Llammas in
Pembrokeshire, using the example of the latter in seeking to get
planning permission in advance as opposed to the example of the former
two where planning permission was acquired retrospectively, a few
years ago, a small group got together to organise an initiative on the
outskirts of Glastonbury next to Barton St David, South Somerset, very
much similar in plan and conception to the Llammas project, with the
overall vision for a cluster of sub-divided plots - each with a
self-built home with land whose use would be geared to
self-sufficiency and sustainable growing systems. The project is
called Plotgate. The site - acquired at public auction - used to be a
fragmented county farm (comment on this below).
This weekend, they are hosting what they are calling a make or break
weekend, as not all the 8 plots have been sold.
Plotgate, nr Glastonbury - Weekend 14th and 15th April 2012
This is a make or break weekend! Please come if you have any interest
in Plotgate. Simon Crighton of Triodos Bank is coming and it would be
lovely if he could meet as many Plotgaters as possible - which will
hopefully inspire Triodos to carry on supporting Plotgate.
Come and see how lovely it looks with the trees we've planted, and
now it is time to start our community garden.
Accommodation and food well be provided for all comers.
We WILL be puitting in the planning application immediately after this
weekend so here is your last chance to get your oar in!
Call Chris on 07804 821374 if you need meeting or anything.
Info with more detail about Plotgate is below.
Comment on the fact that Plotgate was an old County Farm sold at
auction. The project, which is positive in all other respects apart
from the contentious issue of a local authority-owned piece of land
used by local tenant farmers from the local community taken away from
public control and no doubt sold to people - however great their
principles for sustainable agriculture - who will mostly be coming
from outside the locality, gives us a concrete, very real situation
which sharply brings into focus the ideological debate on this list
about the merits of owner occupation as opposed to public ownership!
However, whilst I am against the sell-off of county farms, it is
worth bearing in mind that the farm buildings on this farm have been
apparantly in a state of disrepair. Also, whilst I don't know if this
has been the case with county farms in South Somerset (that there was
a campaign against sell-off locally), even after having been opposed,
once the council goes ahead with sell-off, surely a project such as
this is really the best alternative other than it remaining a county
farm (ie: it being acquired for speculative purposes such as by an
investor with a land portfolio or an already large local landowner).
Taken from: http://www.plotgate.org.uk/info
What is Plotgate?
"Plotgate aims to provide rural homes and livelihoods which are
sustainable, affordable, and diminish motor transport through
car-sharing and other means" ......thats our mission statement, and
this info file aims to outline our vision to you so you can decide if
Plotgate might be an option for your future.
The land has been bought at auction, through the disposal of a county
farm, a block of approx 24 acres of flat pasture, with established
boundary hedging, in rural Somerset. There are no existing buildings
on site , but it is on the edge of a village with buildings either
side. We are currently preparing an outline planning application.
The aim is to divide the biggest field, 16 acres approx, into 2
smallholdings, and on 2 acres of the smaller field to place 8 self
build low-impact live/work dwellings, giving these residents access to
the remaining 6 acres of this smaller field to persue land-based
activities There will be strict criteria that residents will be
required to adhere to, ensuring that the project as a whole is
sustainable and has minimal impact on the environment. There will be a
low-impact communal building with a multitude of shared facilities,
including all amenities that residents require but are easily shared,
thus eliminating the need for duplication across the site. All
services will be provided off-grid, both in individual dwellings and
communally, using a range of renewable energy devices, with energy
demand being minimised to enable the whole Plotgate Venture to be self
sufficient with no reliance on mains services. The existing mains
water connection will be kept but steps taken to supply water demands
from on-site facilities.
Live/ Work plots will be individually owned by residents, purchased on
long term leases from an Industrial and Provident Society, which will
lease the land from the Community Land Trust which owns it. There will
be a committee of residents who will manage the Venture for the
benefit of all residents, to maintain the stated aims and objectives,
ensure the criteria are adhered to, and to find new ways to make the
Plotgate Venture a leading example of a viable alternative
eco-community that manages the land sustainably.
There will be a car share scheme that all residents will be required
to participate in, to minimise vehicle journeys and reduce impact of
car-use. The car pool will include a variety of vehicles to include
car, van, pick-up, people carrier, 4x4, and whatever else is deemed
necessary by the residents. Rechargeable electric vehicles will be
encouraged, with recharging points in communal building, and electric
or pedal powered cycles could provide means to travel as well as
public transport if the resident has no access to a car pool vehicle
or a shared journey on a given day. This all makes sense if you live
and work at Plotgate because the car is no longer required to " get to
work", and the car pool enables other journeys away for whatever
reason to be accomplished. Residents will not suffer by having to
car-share, instead they will have to re-adjust daily routines to take
it into account, and life will improve because less time is spent
individually driving. Its a step we all need to take in the future, as
current car use is unsustainable.
Each Plotgate resident has the freedom to choose the style and
materials of their self-built live/work units, within the size
parameters and other restrictions of the design criteria, but this
will allow a great variety of innovative low-impact structures to be
used for living and working at Plotgate. If residents dont have all
the building skills, they can co-operate with other residents to share
labour and skills, or buy in trades they need if that is cost
effective, as long as they follow the low impact criteria. Some
residents might choose to buy an off-the-shelf eco-house, others to
self-build with straw bales, lime rendered and naturally roofed, using
local materials, or some other build....... a variety to ways to
achieve within the low-impact criteria.
Affordability is a prime aim of The Plotgate Venture, in the beginning
with the initial building, and in future with Plotgate residents
selling their leases and dwellings to new residents at affordable
Plotgate is not a suitable location for those looking for cheap
building plots for speculative developments.
Plotgate is for those who wish to buy on a affordable lease an
opportunity to live and work on the land in a low impact sustainable
way, in a Cohousing scheme with shared facilities and a strong
Residents of Plotgate who decide to sell their leases and dwellings
will have a waiting list of prospective residents who will wish to
purchase their Plotgate assets, but at an affordable price decided by
the residents committee, so as to maintain affordability and to avoid
the boom and collapse of the free market property cycles. Plotgate is
an alternative and it will remain affordable, so it is not suitable
for those wishing to invest in property, nor for those looking for
quick profit. Of course the resale value of any Plotgate assets will
reflect the hard work and capital put in by the resident selling, but
reflected in a fair managed way to maintain the aims of affordability.
It is envisaged that a residential plot as described above, to include
lease on the plot land, access to the adjacent land-use area, shared
cost of communal building, and others items like planning costs, etc,
will be under £20,000 per resident, and an additional sum to provide
live/work dwelling will range from £15000 to £40000, according to the
residents' choice of build method, materials, and equipment levels.
It is envisaged that mortgages will be available from ethical
providers, to provide capital for those without sufficient funds, and
running costs will be very low, again according to individual
residents' choices of renewable energy systems and demands. With no
grid connection, individual utility bills become a thing of the past,
with smart metering indicating how much energy you can utilise from
Plotgate residents will not need to earn high incomes from their
chosen employment at Plotgate, as there will not be endless demands on
their incomes from uncontrolled utilities and other expenses. They
will have far more control over how they use their income to better
their lives, improve their individual and the collective environment
at Plotgate, and be part of a vibrant resilient local economy that has
a leading role to play in the future.
Is Plotgate for you?
Plotgate is our plan to address some, if not all, of the issues that
face our future lives, and to give a real opportunity to those that
wish to follow an alternative path to a sustainable life on the land.
It is not a plan that will suit everyone, and many of the restrictions
and criteria that our plan includes will mean that most people will
not see Plotgate as an opportunity for them.
But for those who are prepared and willing to take that leap, change
their lifestyles and build a real future, Plotgate offers a viable and
If you think that might be you, and having read this info file and -
"15 Criteria for Development Associated with Sustainable Land-based
Rural Activities" a href="http://www.plotgate.org.uk/documents/15criteria%3E">http://www.plotgate.org.uk/documents/15criteria>;,
you want to participate further in the development of this project,
please contact us at: .
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