One Planet Development arrested: my attempts to build a home on a smallholding in Wales
We moved to Wales because of an extraordinary Welsh Government policy. I shan’t lie, despite all experience and political conviction to the contrary, we were optimistic. One Planet Development seemed to be the kind of advance for low impact living and sustainable land use that we had been hoping for for years. In part it had been the apparent impossibility of living as we wanted to, on the land in the UK, that had led us to go to live in the French Pyrenees, and it was OPD that convinced us that we could come back.
There has been just criticism of the OPD policy by, amongst others, Simon Fairlie. It has been pointed out that really OPD offers no more than temporary planning permission; it recycles the old financial test, albeit at a less demanding level; there are certainly problems reconciling OPD-type housing with building regulations created for mainstream construction. Most seriously of all perhaps, OPD fails to offer people who do not want to, or cannot, establish land-based businesses, a way to apply for greenfield planning permission.
We are left with a policy which may offer a chance to smallholders and small farmers to build ecological housing and to have a foothold in the countryside, but which does not really allow for the recreation of a rounded rural economy, or for the wide range of people who are in desperate need of affordable housing and who would love to live sustainably, to take action to house themselves, and to create lifestyles reflecting the undeniable fact that we have only one planet to live on.
If you’re into Permaculture and organic growing, and you’ve thought that selling salad bags might be a nice way to earn your living, then OPD sounds like it might be for you, but where will the craftspeople come from? Where are the blacksmiths, the country mechanics and the carpenters? When will a nurse be able to say that they would like to self-build on cheap land, grow their own food, generate their own electricity, fulfill the obligation to increase biodiversity on their plot, but not run a land-based business as well as working in a hospital full-time?
We came to Wales to look for land for an OPD project, and very soon had the chance to meet a group of folks with whom we bought a few acres of Carmarthenshire, a bit of ground called Rhiw Las.
OPD is a very demanding policy and still in its infancy; it was great to have other people to share the work of putting an application together. Frankly, it was fantastic to find ourselves in a group with people prepared to do the heavy lifting for the rest of us. Our planning application runs to nearly 80 pages and was developed to reflect in every way the demands of the policy.
Fortunately the policy asks us to live pretty much as we’ve always wanted to, although I can’t say that being audited every year by local government officers who wouldn’t necessarily know a turnip from the back end of a duck, let alone how a grey water system works doesn’t fill me with joy, and neither does the fact that we have to create land based businesses that have financial targets to hit, in just about the poorest region in Western Europe. This is not a region where bespoke salad bags are going to make my fortune.
Having crossed swords with the UK planning system before, one of the most attractive aspects of the policy was that it was clearly created with a collaborative approach in mind, something quite different to the confrontational policing style of planning that we normally expect.
We reached out from the start. Why would anyone be opposed to such a demanding policy which at the same time had such laudable ends, pointed the way perhaps to a renewed rural society, and offered a model for living with the Earth and not just on it? I spoke to the Community Council, introduced myself to neighbours; we had pre-planning meetings. At times I even felt that things were going well.
Still, I can’t say that at any stage, at least until the time of the Planning Committee meeting, I felt that we were being encouraged officially. In fact we waited more than 9 months beyond the normal decision time with no idea of what was happening or why we were facing delays. OPD is a Welsh Government policy which has been abandoned, orphaned. Virtually no-one in Wales knows anything about it. That in itself is a huge failure.
Nonetheless, we felt great when at last the Planning Officer, the third involved in our application, recommended us for approval. It is rare for Planning Committees to go against such recommendations.
There had been three objections, two from neighbours and one from the local Community Council which went so far as to spend more than £600 on a report from a planning consultant, one of the worst researched and poorly argued documents I have ever read. On the strength of that objection alone we should have been given planning permission. If you read the history of well-known low impact living projects, Tinker’s Bubble for example, you’ll see that three objections is a tiny amount, and it was already clear that the objectors had no interest in either reading the policy or the application.
We thought we had reason to be confident that the Planning Committee would go with the Planning Officer’s recommendation. But we should have been more aware of what we are up against here.
Only a handful of younger councillors on the Committee spoke up and voted with the Chair in favour of the project. At the end, after the votes had been cast, the Chair asked the members if any of them could explain why they’d voted the application down; he reminded them that this decision would be tested at appeal. There was, to start with, silence, and then a rehearsal of irrelevant arguments. Nothing that they’d come up with was even remotely relevant in the face of a policy which includes annual auditing and targets. All they had had to do was compare the application to the policy, and grant permission on the basis that we would then have time to prove our ideas, or enough rope to hang ourselves, depending upon one’s perspective.
Why then did they vote against? Why did they force us to go to appeal, an appeal which, if the policy is anything more than a joke, we should surely win? Well, Carmarthenshire is a Plaid Cymru run authority, and many of the Councillors who voted against us were from Plaid. You might have heard that Plaid Cymru is an environmentally and socially progressive party, here in Carmarthenshire I’m not so sure.
There are local issues at play here as well. There are people who haven’t got planning permission for bungalows outside of the village and wonder angrily why we should get permission for our ecological houses. The fact that they could put in OPD applications if they wanted is neither here nor there; most of them don’t want to work the land, use composting loos, or to have to grow most of their own food. There are also people who wanted to buy the land, perhaps still want to buy the land. The market in land stands as a massive obstacle everywhere to resettlement of rural areas.
And that’s really it isn’t it? The countryside is empty of poor people for a reason. It wasn’t an accident. One of the Councillors in the Planning Committee actually said that Carmarthenshire doesn’t want these kind of developments, and were one to be established it would open the doors to any “Tom, Dick or Harry”. The marvellous work of the Carmarthenshire County Council Planning Committee has been immortalised in a webcast; the last few minutes are most instructive.
I think we’ll win at appeal. I don’t intend to take our victory graciously or to be nice to the people who have made us live with uncertainty and stress. The local County Councillor who stood up and said that the soil here is poor and that we can’t grow veg here, and who responded to an email from me with pictures of me bringing in the onion harvest by suggesting that I’d bought them and faked the photo, will never be my friend or a respected neighbour. I wouldn’t piss on these people if they were on fire. I’ll leave others to do the forgiving.
In the meantime, we are on the land, growing our food and selling vegetables. We can’t build our house without taking a huge risk, and we can’t really spend any money on the business either. That is the same for the other three families involved in the project.
Compared to what the pioneers of low impact development in this country went through, and what we went through years ago in England, this doesn’t sound like much, but here’s the thing: the resistance and the opposition is all about putting people off, making it quite clear that some of us aren’t welcome in the countryside, under dark star-filled skies, or with space to live and breathe.
It’s an old struggle, the struggle for access to the land and to livings which we might make for ourselves, but whilst it is old, it is not a marginal concern. In OPD, for all its faults, there lies the seed of transformation of the countryside, of resettlement of the land, of affordable housing for all, and of good local food in every community. Of course the wealthy and the landed don’t want it to succeed, don’t want the policy to be widened and diversified, and only thousands or tens of thousands of people taking to the land will ensure that the cause advances, that we have the chance to take back the green deserts and repopulate the open spaces.
You can read and/or watch our interview with Paul Jennings about his One Planet Development journey here. Interested in learning more about smallholding or land reform? Find our introduction to smallholding here and our introduction to land reform here.
The views expressed in our blog are those of the author and not necessarily lowimpact.org's
1John Harrison October 9th, 2015
Good on you for not giving up! Local democracy is a bit of a joke, those precious few who bother to vote would happily vote in a monkey with the right party badge. Many councillors are middle-class silver-tops looking for a nice little earner and convinced their task is to hold the line against change except where there is a benefit to them or their pals. Mind you, I’m only speaking from personal knowledge here – not a proper study.
The whole agricultural system is geared to big farming in the UK – the concept of part-time farming just seems to have passed DEFRA by. Take a look at grants and you’ll see what I mean.
Nice onions in the photo, btw ?
2Paul Jennings October 9th, 2015
Thanks, John. Yes, the onions have been good this year, and I’m pleased to say that they’ve dried off nicely.
3Andrew Rollinson October 9th, 2015
Good luck with it Paul.
Would you be willing to write a paragraph or two summarising what OPD is please? I followed the link but didn’t fancy delving in to this official website.
John, local “democracy” is a joke in my experience also. As an example, last week there was a local authority election where I live. This resulted in a turnout of 15.8%, and the winner (a lady Labour candidate) received less than half of all votes. By my calculations that meant over 93% of the people didn’t want this woman. That’s why I write “democracy”.
In my area, the Labour party could put one on Paul’s onions up as a candidate and it would get elected.
Another thing is that this lady has never been in politics before. For my sins, I have had to move in circles frequented by local councillors. It is all very cliquey and those who want to get on, cross them at their peril. Some of the worst draw massive expenses, love publicity (even to the point of shunning others who happen to get their face too often in the local paper), and are scared to death of losing their position and status. For me, the worst thing at present is that the Council are so short of money that they are just building new roads on any available green land space that they can. This opens up new developments for commercial and domestic buildings and therefore brings in revenue. To fight them is hard for the reasons described, as they control the press, and push for election those who don’t rock their boat.
4John Harrison October 9th, 2015
Irrelevant to the post but maybe useful was a tip from L D Hills I tried with great success last year. Add 2oz of salt per square yard to the onion bed. I know, I thought the same but I planted very late with sets and still had the best crop of onions ever.
5Erica October 9th, 2015
For those interested in the One Planet Development policy, you can read more on the website of the One Planet Council here: http://www.oneplanetcouncil.org.uk/
6Chris Vernon October 9th, 2015
Here’s a transcript of the closing comments of the planning meeting where councillors are asked for reasons why they refused:
Cllr Alun Lenny (Chair)
May I ask for your reasons on planning grounds for refusing the application?
Cllr Tyssul Evans
From my viewpoint a lack of, a clear lack of sustainability.
AL. So you doubt how practical is the management plan that’s been provided? That’s right yes.
Cllr Roy Llewellyn
I certainly agree with that. Obviously the comments I was going to make in English is that it’s not sustainable, the highway system is insufficient, and so far as I can see I know different policies are relevant here, but they’re definitely outside the development limits and if we allow this application…
AL. I’m sorry I must interrupt you there. The policy does allow this kind of development outside development limits, so we cannot put that forward as a reason.
RL. Well one is quite definite as a reason, Mr Chairman, if this had been allowed today we would have opened the doors, and I would say then that every Tom Dick and Harry could have applied to build wherever they liked. Thankyou.
AL. I doubt if that’s a relevant planning (laugh) but there we are. Any other reasons Councillor Joy Williams?
Cllr Joy Williams
Even if it is within planning guidelines, my objection would be based on the location of the site. It’s nowhere near a village, someone referenced to TR2. Does that make any sense?
AL. So it’s the location itself and the access to, it in general terms?
Cllr Joseph Davies
I still believe that four families don’t have to live on this site to sustain this kind of livelihood.
AL. So we’re back to sustainability, I refer to Councillor Tyssul Evans. We’ll ask the officers to prepare and to look at the policies, based on the reasons that you’ve mentioned as those being the grounds for your objection, and the application as I say, has been refused.
They raised three reasons:
Sustainability, the highway system insufficient.
Location, nowhere near a village.
Don’t have to live on this site to sustain this kind of livelihood.
Firstly, the head of highways made no objection (subject to perfectly reasonable conditions).
Secondly, the One Planet Development policy covering the open countryside makes no condition or even suggestion than developments must be near a village (by definition it is outside the development boundary). In any case the site is within 2 miles of Llanboidy where village facilities are within easy (walking/cycling) reach.
Thirdly, again the One Planet Development policy places no requirement on residents needing to live on site to sustain the livelihood – that language is more applicable to agricultural occupancy. OPD residents need to show the site can meet their basic needs, which has been done and hence why the application was recommended for approval by the planning officer.
7John Harrison October 9th, 2015
So the development was refused on inapplicable and spurious grounds.
You did remember to provide the plain brown envelopes with the cash in prior to the meeting? ? Seriously, it’s head banging stuff – especially the comments on sustainability. As anyone in Wales who watches the news knows, the (Welsh) government has given millions to businesses that have failed and the directors walked off into the sunset with fat pockets. Worst case here is that 3 families get a home cheaply.
Can you make the council pay for the appeal since this is – according to the transcript – knowingly refusing on inappropriate grounds against policy thereby causing you costs.
8veckieRob October 9th, 2015
Yet again a case where democracy has failed due to election of people incapable of looking at the facts and rules. Pure prejudice.
9Dean of the portable village October 9th, 2015
unfortunately we cannot vote the planning committees in or out, they are employees of the council.
10Paul Jennings October 9th, 2015
The Planning Committee is actually made up of members of the County Council; in this case the officials were on our side, it was the politicians who stood in the way of our project.
11Dean of the portable village October 9th, 2015
it seems to me that a lot of these councils are full of self obsessed people that are promoting there own agendas and have no understanding of there own policys and systems,
with planning you cannot object purely because you dont like something, it has to be an objection on planning policy grounds that prohibit the use in the way put forward. most of the time they rely on the fact no one knows what is allowed, both inside and outside of the councils, time for a shake up of these councils.
12Joe Todd October 9th, 2015
i would suggest some consideration of language and culture wouldn’t go amiss..just because government says it doesn’t mean locals will.even if the application is passed formally ,there will be a continued subtle resistance if your face don’t fit..I’d say they’re giving you fair warning,learn welsh and you might stand half a chance.goodluck
13Paul Jennings October 9th, 2015
What makes you think I’m not a Welsh learner, Joe? In fact several of us are learning Welsh, and I made sure to tell everyone at the Community Council that that is the case. I take every opportunity to practice my Welsh when I’m in the village at the Post Office, at the Builders’ Merchant. I’m a University of Wales man, undergraduate and postgraduate, with a Welsh grandmother………. the people who are opposed to us couldn’t give a flying fox about the Welsh language – even though they speak it – because if they really did they’d encourage an open and all-embracing Welshness which is what this country desperately needs…….. and by the way, although I’m not a Welsh Nationalist, what any politics of Welsh home rule or independence requires absolutely.
14Mark Pckthall October 9th, 2015
Being a Londoner that has lived in Wales all my adult life, that is 42 years here I know it’s not as simple as It was about 2 years ago that I was called a Llangeitho boyo.
You must remember you are living in a very very different place from England. It takes ages to be accepted and respected.
15Paul Jennings October 10th, 2015
I appreciate that there can be problems, Mark, a lot of English people have moved to Wales and particularly in Carmarthenshire the position of the Welsh language has suffered enormously over the last half a century. The thing is though that this remains an overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming place. In any event though, whilst we have had a large amount of acceptance and even respect, we need neither, all we need is for councillors to read and understand policies and applications; a little bit of work from the Welsh Government to publicise OPD wouldn’t go amiss either!
16Steve October 10th, 2015
So where do you live while you are waiting to get permission to build? Sounds a nightmare
17Paul Jennings October 10th, 2015
Hi Steve, some of us are now living on the land – renting is expensive as you know and we were quite simply in a position where we had no money for the project……….. which is precisely why folks need to live on the land they work. Some of us are still in rented accommodation.
What really gets my goat is that the councillors who voted against us clearly have no idea about the policy or indeed any expertise in anything related to it, and their role was not even to decide on these matters only to measure our application against the policy and give us a chance. OPD projects are heavily audited once they’ve been set-up; we will have to meet our targets and do what we have said, the whole project will be bound by a Section 106 Agreement so the land will be tied to OPD use. In standing in the way, despite the fact that they are likely, very likely to lose the appeal, means that in effect all they have done is stop families getting on with their lives for no good reason at all.
In essence we are the victims of a massive political toys-out-of-the-pram situation. Thick people who don’t even accept that society needs to change, or that we need to live as if we only have one planet, have put us in a situation of insecurity and anxiety.
18Steve October 10th, 2015
I asked because I was thinking of doing an OPD. Haven’t purchased the land in question yet but we have been in touch with the planning authority to ask what they thought, who have asked us for draft plan. I need to spend some time on the land and get to know it before we can do a draft or full plan that is grounded in the reality of the land. Problem is of course one needs planning permission to live on the land. Catch 22. So not sure I am brave enough to buy some land and face the possibility of having my OPD turned down. BUT I wish you all the best with your appeal.
19Paul Jennings October 10th, 2015
If your OPD application is strong then you will get permission even if you have to go to appeal. What OPD desperately needs is more people to just go for it. The more of us there are the stronger we will all be and the more the potential of the policy will be proved.
My advice would be not to submit a draft plan, but ask them to consult the policy. When you have the land then develop a plan which of course needs to be flexible enough to reflect how you feel about the plot after a year or two of working on it – the essence of good permaculture design.
20Alun October 10th, 2015
For a start, here is not a green desert, its your country thats over developed. And this country does not need re-populating, and certainly not by people who only cares to be here because land is cheaper than england. Why not instead go live back where you call home and change the views of your politicians there so you can have a OPD for england.
I bet when you lived in the Pyrenees you learned & spoke French/Spanish. I also bet that you wont get further than attending a few classes for learning Cymraeg. I bet most of your friends around here also dont speak Cymraeg because they are also colonists/incomers or their parents were and helped them develop an excuse as to why they dont need to learn the language. Add some ‘bitching’ our schooling system and hear from more people like me and your justification will be complete as to why not to bother integrate into our culture.
I suspect that Carmarthenshire County Council are trying to protect economic interests. If schemes like OPD take hold and become popular then the value of current property may devalue. I for one admire the principle of OPD, But for Carmarthen C.C they may see it as a backdoor way to make another Tee-Pee Valley, which they have had issue with for decades.
21Tony Wrench October 10th, 2015
Thank you for this very full and honest account. We here at Brithdir Mawr also experienced similar reactions from councillors, and indeed officers at first. I agree with you that the secong wing of OPD – the allowance of ecohomes near settlements – will be very valuable if and when it ever happens. It is just possible to pass the tests if you are a craftsperson by using materials from the land, as I do for woodtyrning, but that is all. We still need nurses and teachers and mechanics and all ordinary people living sustainably with room to breathe.
Ultimately things will only change radically when all local people realise that this lifestyle is possible and enhances the quality of life for everyone. Thus the Lammas inhabitants are doing everyone a favour by generating £90,000 worth of produce from land that used to produce £3,500 in sheep. We would then hope to see councillors attending OPD courses at Lammas, and people, like yourself maybe, standing for election to county councils. Great things can be achieved by this kind of thing, as the IFF movement if Frome has shown.
22vicky moller October 10th, 2015
First, let me apologise for Plaid Cymru which I am a member and candidate for. Yes our councillors are hard to bring up to speed, something that is true of all parties, but no excuse for not doing more. I will ask again how they explain this.
second why not reapply (which is free at least in Pembs)addressing the points raised. Just re-present the relevant info in a clear short form. I alsdo know the committees get bundles of papers on all the applications that no-one could read in the time allowed, and opd paperwork is especially impossibly long. This partly explains the absurd response,but does not excuse it.
23Chris Vernon October 10th, 2015
Protecting economic interests is an interesting one. It’s widely accepted that there is a problem with housing supply and house prices, especially in rural areas. OPD applications like this increase housing supply and provide affordable (small a) rural housing that currently doesn’t exist. Whilst in the long term, after many hundred OPDs there could be downward pressure on existing housing stock – would this be a bad thing? The majority of young people are currently priced out of the housing market all together. Another positive economic argument is that OPDs are based around new rural business, surely something the council (and certainly central government) would welcome.
Far from being a backdoor to another TiPi Valley, the OPD policy is the Welsh Assembly’s front door to sustainable, rural development.
24One Planet Council October 10th, 2015
The One Planet Council has been set up by interested parties to help both applicants and planners get to grips with the OPD policy. We have open meetings every month at which all are welcome. The next meeting is on Friday 16th October, 11am, at the University of Wales Trinity St David campus in Carmarthen. For more details please see the web page here: http://www.oneplanetcouncil.org.uk/meeting-dates/
We have also run courses for applicants and planning officers this year, and intend to run more in future. Lack of awareness of the policy is one of the biggest problems at the moment for OPD. It is heartening that councils such as Caerphilly are taking the policy to heart and promoting it as a means of sustainable rural regeneration, but there is clearly more to be done in other regions.
25Terry Jones October 10th, 2015
You’re right Vicky, it is almost impossible to understand an OPD application and even more difficult to prepare one. It’s embarrassing viewing if you are Welsh to watch that podcast, but it’s the complexity of OPD policy that’s making them look ridiculous. If it wasn’t for some of the madder comments you couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.
26Alun October 10th, 2015
Then perhaps they worry that it is a ‘front door’ to another TeePee valley, with which they have had decades of headache over and would be cautious to allow another similar place to come into existence especially if they have legal entitlement to be there. Personally I think that TeePee valley is quite nice, never the less, my views are at odds with most people ( Cymru) I know.
Cultural erosion by colonists is possibly a factor for the councillors, but not one they are allowed to express. So they my have to lean on other less sensical or less relevant points to express their objection.
My experience is usually when I express my views on english colonists and its effect on our culture I’m boxed into a nationalist or even racist category. After that no one needs to listen to bigots like me. If of course I say nothing, then the colonists continue their westward migration into this ‘Under populated’ ‘Green Desert’.
27Dave Darby October 10th, 2015
I know Paul, and he is learning the language, as are the people at Lammas. It’s not the low-impacters you need to worry about if you’re afraid of losing your culture, it’s the second-homers – people who have no interest in integrating into the countryside, the local economy or the local culture.
And why focus on these people when lots of Welsh people don’t speak Welsh? Really, if you substituted ‘Pakistan’ for England and ‘England’ for Wales, what you’re saying sounds quite nationalistic and slightly racist. Europeans are now able to settle and set up business anywhere in Europe – and that includes Wales.
28Dave Darby October 10th, 2015
‘I suspect that Carmarthenshire County Council are trying to protect economic interests.’
Yes, of course they are. They’re not interested in sustainability or equitable land ownership, they’re interested in money.
‘If schemes like OPD take hold and become popular then the value of current property may devalue.’
With a bit of luck, yes.
29solaesthetic October 10th, 2015
‘I suspect that Carmarthenshire County Council are trying to protect economic interests.’ If only that were the case – that would be rational.
The reality is that Racism and bigotry are holding more sway in this case. I am welsh, I have had a lifetime of listening to nationalists talking like this. they are motivated by unquestioned hate. Thankfully the Welsh assembly is populated by people who have a better overview of what would be good for Wales.
Alun the welsh culture you talk of preserving is a rarified system of conservative land ownership that excludes people from making a living from anything other than subsidised industrial farming. It is also jealous, nasty minded and narrow. It has ejected many welsh people from Wales. Myself included. It needs eroding and it needs to evolve.
30solaesthetic October 10th, 2015
The nationalist, racist box fits your comments perfectly.
31Stefan C October 10th, 2015
Yes you are right Terry in saying that OPD is complex, however that doesn’t mean that it is beyond understanding. Complexity can be simplified through good communication. Surely it is the role and duty of elected public servants to make sure they have a full grasp of what’s at stake here? For example, They could for example have requested a proper briefing and Q+A session with the planning officer who recommended approval – especially when there’s the basic rights of families, who have done everything asked of them, at stake here.
32pembssurfer October 10th, 2015
“If schemes like OPD take hold and become popular then the value of current property may devalue” Yes because everyone benefits from high house prices don’t they! In Pembrokeshire the locals where not bothered about selling their derelict barns for £100K’s to anyone. They also where not bothered about selling their council houses (that they bought under “right to buy”) for £100K’s to anyone, then going out and crying poverty to get another council house and pocketing the profit. Then wondering why it is their children and grandchildren can not afford a house locally and have to get a council house (when they actually come up) many, many miles away from their family and the place they grew up. The reduction in house prices (if that even happens!) if this scheme takes off should be seen as a positive, not a negative, because then maybe the local welsh people will actually be able to buy a house where they grew up. Or they could embrace OPD themselves.
33Shona Scatchard October 10th, 2015
I really liked your determination to be unforgiving. Not very fashionable I know, but when the current system of food production, so reliant on oil, unravells, then truly those who know about sustainable food production will be having the last laugh and they will all come begging for your onions !
34Biff Vernon October 11th, 2015
Thanks for the account, Paul and Sarah. The planning system across the UK is clearly broken and not fit for purpose. Here’s a petition that readers here may be interested in: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/change-uk-planning-laws
I noticed one of the comments on the 38 Degrees page was particularly pertinent:
“I wanted to live on my own piece of agricultural land too, only it was impossible to do so in the UK. So I left 7 years ago and am now one of an increasing number of Britons doing just that in other countries where people taking care of the land are welcome and the contribution we make to rural economies and the restoration of the environment is appreciated instead of discouraged.”
35John Harrison October 11th, 2015
As a ‘colonist’ can I point out a few facts – 80% of people living in Wales do not speak Welsh. Secondly, the population of Wales isn’t growing, it is roughly stable. The modern culture of Wales is a British culture, like the English and the Scots. All have their own ‘flavour’ but more similarities than difference.
Extrapolating from Alun’s post, the logical outcome of his views are the expulsion of non-Welsh from the country and laws regarding racial purity to weed out the unter-menschen whose grandmother wasn’t born here. Think we’ve seen that before.
Progressive schemes like OPD are something Wales can be very proud of. Hopefully they can make it work. As for TiPi valley, compare that with the giant caravan parks around N Wales. I know what I’d rather look at – or live in.
Personally we have 3 acres of very poor quality land which we’re spending every spare penny and hour on improving. By improving I mean increasing the ecological diversity by planting native tree windbreaks, improving the soil in the veg growing areas by the addition of compost & manures. The grazing fields are beyond us but we’ve just struck a deal whereby a local (racially pure Welsh) smallholder can keep his sheep on the land in return for improving it instead of paying some rent and raping the land.
It took us 35 years to get here and how I wish we could have done it 35 years ago when I had more strength and energy. Hopefully OPD will enable young people with that energy and strength to achieve the vision.
36Juliette October 11th, 2015
Hi Paul, I am sure that you are aware that ‘Lammas’ also positioned in Wales near Glandwr also went through this long process of approval and finally won after their appeal. Have you been in touch with them – perhaps they can give you some helpful pointers to help you gain a positive outcome.
37Alun October 11th, 2015
Dave. Non welsh speaking welsh exist for a few reasons. 1. Their parents move here and they are born & or raised here and now consider themselves to be welsh. Some times this may have happened centuries ago like southern Pembrokeshire. 2. Their communities were overrun by non welsh speaking incomers diluting their culture to the point of ineffectiveness, their children will then probably only speak english.
I agree that if you substitute english for pakistani & welsh for english my comment would sound racist. If you change the parameters again you could make my comment sound homophobic, male chauvinistic and fascist all at once. How about just looking at what i’m saying specifically?
I know the law allows you to settle where ever you like in the E.U. I’m asking for people to be culturally more responsible.
Look at Cornwall’s often derided effort to resurrect their language. I bet they wish it was never allowed to die in the first place. Why would a person with the compassion and altruism to want to live a sustainable life choose to do it in a culturally vulnerable place? Is it the cheap land? or better view? Its not because you want to be part of the existing culture, other wise we’d be conversing in my language and not yours.
38Alun October 11th, 2015
Yes John No John where do I start? How do you suppose it got to 80% non welsh speaking? English is not historically a British culture. We the celtic nations are not ‘Flavours’. And yes if you are doing the extrapolating you can put any words you want in my mouth. So long as they are english ones. Seeing as you are conforming to Godwins law perhaps I could extrapolate then that the english are now colonising their ‘Lebensraum’, Think we’ve all seen that before.
39Alun October 11th, 2015
Sounds like you’ve had a bad experience there. I’d listen to more of it if you want to talk about it, especially how you were ‘ejected’ from wales. I find the nationalists are fuelled by fear of losing their culture and nation which has stood for so long. We dont have many tools at our disposal. Politically we are ignored, legally we are constrained, socially derided. If we say or do any thing we are bigots or terrorists. All the while as nothing is done our culture washes away like the sand under your feet at the oceans edge. No doubt there is hate expressed by some.
I agree that the current agricultural methods need overhauling. But your last paragraph is not quite right. Firstly the culture I’m talking about is language, community, local knowledge & connection to the land both current and historical. Secondly we haven’t always owned the land and not all welsh people are land owners. Its the government that draws farmers into subsidised industrial farming. ‘Jealous, nasty minded and narrow’, are words you’d need to qualify before i’d comment. As well as it ‘needs eroding’, is that the culture as i defined it or current farming methods that are E.U wide?
40Paul Jennings October 11th, 2015
Alun, you are putting yourself in the position of opposing families moving into the countryside and working the land in traditional ways; you put yourself on the side of bigots and the supporters of industrial agriculture. You clearly know nothing about us, and I’d suggest very little about the locale we have settled.
There are a good number of Welsh speakers around here and I am learning Welsh as are several of my colleagues. In the fullness of time I think that most of us on this site will be using Welsh. I always try to use Welsh in the builders’ merchants, in the Post Office and with both delivery drivers and the postman.
There are occasions when the settlement of land by people of goodwill can be good for vulnerable cultures – certainly better than the alternative, which is stagnation and death as people with no interest in the culture or traditional systems of land management move in. I know a little bit about vulnerable cultures because I’m from a rural area in the South East of England – although the two sides of my father’s family are from Mid-Wales and Devon. When I was a child there were still proper country folk who spoke with their own accents and dialect words, all of that has gone. I can’t afford to live there and the villages are dead, no more than dormitories for bankers.
What you and other proponents of the anti-English rhetoric of Welsh nationalism forget is that it is not “the English” who have done something to Wales, it’s the English ruling class, and let me tell you something, they did it to us considerably earlier than they did it to you.
Now, here we are, learning Welsh, caring for the land which is something that plenty of industrial farmers who speak Welsh or English as their first languages fail to do; we have someone here who makes traditional Celtic musical instruments; musicians who play, and have helped keep alive no doubt, traditional Celtic music; one couple here (Welsh learners like myself) have named their first child with a Welsh name. Despite a life time of not voting, I went out in May and voted Plaid………. I’d vote yes in a referendum for independence.
You know what, you’re not even worth engaging with because you don’t care about all this. I think you’re just a bloody racist and as happy in your ignorance as the councillors. The only way for the Welsh culture and language to thrive is for it to embrace the New Welsh and the future; to work towards the creation of a new countryside. You really need to take off your blinkers.
41John Harrison October 11th, 2015
I’m not trying to put words in your mouth but to point out the logical conclusion of a Wales for the Welsh policy. Think it through.
Now at one time a version of the language we call Welsh was spoken from Scotland to Cornwall. Then along came those pesky Romans and later still the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons but worst of the lot were them there French.
The English culture has benefited from immigration over the years – we really are a mongrel race (or is that a race with hybrid vigour?) – and language changes. Just shampoo your hair in a bungalow before opening a jar of chutney. Don’t just blame the English for the demise of Welsh, many of the Welsh middle classes felt that the way to success in Britain and its Empire was to speak the majority British language and determined their children would speak English (like what those Americans, Australians and many others do).
If Welshness is just measured by speaking the language you disenfranchise 80% of the population.
And I’m very sorry but on the Tebbit test I must be Welsh – even though I was the only one cheering Wales on against England in the Rugby in a Spanish bar ?
I suspect you’d like to see a totally independent Wales? Dominated by Cardiff with S4C’s incomprehensible southern version of Welsh?
Seriously, you do come over like a racist and please don’t tell me some of your friends are English or I may damage myself banging my head on the desk. I hope you’re a nicer, wiser person than you appear to be from your posts, it’s easy to misjudge people on the net.
42Chris Vernon October 11th, 2015
Further comment on the recent curious behaviour of the Carmarthenshire Planning Committee from West Wales News Review:
43Dave Darby October 11th, 2015
Alun, I dread to think what you say about black or Asian people (definitely not celtic) settling in Wales. You sound like the EDL and make about as much sense. My next-door-neighbour in London is Welsh by the way.
44Rob October 12th, 2015
Interesting (by which of course, I mean depressing) to see how quickly this descends into “Don’t colonise my country, you’re a Nazi” followed by “Don’t tell me not to come to your country, you’re a Nazi”.
These are very sensitive issues and need to be dealt with in a thoughtful manner.
It is true that as a poor country whose natural wealth has been stolen, Wales is vulnerable to all sorts of further exploitation by its much richer neighbour, from Denbighshire becoming “West Chester” commuterland, parts of Pen llŷn becoming a playground for the sailing set, and to the west becoming a fantasy rural idyll for middle class drop-outs.
Nevertheless, while being sensitive to such colonialism, we need to ensure that people who come here to make a contribution, to display cultural awareness and sensitivity, and to become part of our community should be welcomed and encouraged. In my experience, they, and certainly their children, will be as Welsh as anyone with local roots stretching back generations, given the right welcoming encouragement.
It’s not about race or DNA or genes or any of that distracting nonsense – it’s about the preservation and development of a culture that has made a unique contribution to human history.
45Paul Jennings October 12th, 2015
Can’t disagree with any of that Rob. Of course these issues are not to unique to Wales, and can be applied to many areas of the British Isles and beyond.
As for my intemperate responses in this discussion, I apologise. All involved in this OPD project are committed to Wales, and I for one would like to see a fully bilingual country, increasingly independent and able to live at ease with all of the cultures which make and have made a contribution to its unique character.
46John Harrison October 12th, 2015
I’m not calling anybody anything – merely pointing out the logical end point and consequences of a position that history teaches us and how some comments come over in what I hope was a fairly dispassionate manner considering. Happily we’ve not had anything but a warm welcome here, despite only knowing a few words of Welsh.
47Alun October 12th, 2015
Come on JOHN, you’ve called me a RACIST and inferred i’m a Nazi. Just scroll up and read your own words. PAUL has called me a ( NASTY ) RACIST twice yet fails to qualify it. DAVE goes on to ASSUME I’d be prejudiced toward darker skin tones & compares me to the EDL. WTF is wrong with you people. Are the english a different race to the welsh? If not then shut up about it. Despite your personal attacks on me I’ve responded to every one of you to try and steer you see my point, and not descend to the ad hominem argument. Instead you find more sport in making assumptions and conjecture about my words to make me fit your prejudices.
This country, like all the celtic nations have historically been deprived by the english ruling class, but its the english common folk settling in unprecedented numbers that is causing the biggest threat to this culture. You’re doing this to us, and you make me out to be the narrow minded asshole. You clearly want to have your cake and eat it. You’ll work out how its OUR FAULT that our culture is waning, and how you’re the idealogical pioneers of the green new welsh. ROB ( nice post btw) gets to use the word ‘colonist’ and you dont jump on him.
And can someone please tell me what is so wrong with england that you all want to leave?
And PAUL you’ve told me twice in two languages you dont want to talk with me, yet you keep responding. I’m trying to have a debate which is clearly pertinent to the OPD and how it draws in a majority english ( colonist ) to a culturally sensitive area. Seriously OPD how many Cymry Cymerig have you helped?
48One Planet Council October 12th, 2015
Alun, two One Planet Developments in the past year have been granted permission for native Welsh-speaking households, and one for an English family. There are more of both in the pipeline. The policy itself does not discriminate, and it is just as much an opportunity for the children of local farming families to set themselves up with a new house on the corner of a family farm (which historically has been very difficult, and is one reason for rural depopulation as family members are forced to leave) as it is for “incomers” to put down new roots. The spirit of the policy very much encourages cultural integration and community interaction.
49Steve October 12th, 2015
Alun “You’re doing this to us, and you make me out to be the narrow minded asshole.” I think that is called xenophobia.
“Xenophobia is the dislike of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenophobia
No one wants to swamp your culture, in fact it sounds to me that learning to speak Welsh is showing great respect for the Welsh culture. My partner, born in Bangor, knows about 20 words of Welsh.
Give these people a break, they want to embrace the Welsh culture.
50Alun October 12th, 2015
Ok Steve, maybe i’m xenophobic. The definition seems to fit. Thanks for taking the time to find a word for me. Trouble is that when people find a category or a box for a person or a group of people, minds shut down. Call someone a racist, or a terrorist then the mind conforms to pre packaged stereotypes given to us by the media . Independent thought is discouraged. You getting me? Bit like when I use the word English, or colonist. It has connotations. And like wise the term xenophobic.
I am still interested in a debate where the focus is not to call each other names.
By all means learning to speak welsh is indeed respectful to the welsh culture. I wrote to Paul Jennings to say that the language aspect of my argument does therefore not apply to him nor any one else who is as conscientious as him.
I dont get the bit about your partner and the relationship between where he/she was born and the 20 word of welsh. I dont have an issue with where one is born.
51Alun October 12th, 2015
Thank you for your professional & illuminating response. Two welsh speaking families granted permission for OPD, I didn’t know that. I appreciate that the policy would not be set up to discriminate etc…… but so far as I’m aware, knowledge of OPD is not common in welsh speaking communities. Since all the posts on your site are in english from seemingly english people I assumed that OPD is promoted widely in england, in festivals and in the alternative scene.
I’m sure you’ve also promoted OPD in welsh speaking circles, but I can imagine that the constraints involved are less attractive there. Most welsh speakers aren’t ‘back to nature pioneers’ types. My nephews would rather farm sheep and own 4×4’s. From our perspective OPD appears to be aimed at people from ‘hippie’ backgrounds. A quick scan through your members list only serves to strengthen this assumption. Not your fault, but in my experience these two waters don’t mix.
I so know there will be a back lash at my use of the word ‘hippie’, so substitute it for your own word and get back to trying to understand what i’m trying to say. You may disagree with me. If so, say why, and please, people, leave the personal attacks alone.
52Dave Darby October 12th, 2015
Alun – ‘By all means learning to speak welsh is indeed respectful to the welsh culture. I wrote to Paul Jennings to say that the language aspect of my argument does therefore not apply to him nor any one else who is as conscientious as him.’
But that applies to most if not almost all of the low-impacters trying to set up a home on a smallholding in Wales – I know it’s true of the people at Lammas. So that’s more people speaking Welsh – you should be happy – or at least happier than if the Welsh countryside becomes corporate monoculture like everywhere else?
I can understand you being annoyed by second-homers or commuters sucking the life out of the countryside. But you should be just as annoyed at Welsh people doing that. I object to English people doing it in England.
I have to admit two things – first, I really like the Welsh. I’ve spent lots of holidays there, and find them really friendly. My next-door neighbour’s Welsh, and, well, I wish you has as much of an issue with an English person in Wales as I do with him in England.
Secondly, I really don’t get nationalism (this is nothing to do with racism, obviously, because we’re talking about people of the same race), and never have. If it were up to me, I’d get rid of all borders, and people could speak whatever language they like, wherever they like.
I know that’s not the majority position, but it’s all going to go that way in the end anyway. People travel, young people move to cities to go to university, they meet people from different cultures, fall in love, have children. It only takes a small percentage to do that and we’re headed for a global melting pot. That move is well under way, and it’s unstoppable. Well, it’s unstoppable unless we keep young people of different cultures apart by force or with propaganda. Fewer and fewer people are settling down with someone from the same town, village or culture any more.
But ultimately I think the low-impact smallholders are the wrong target – they’re trying to fit in, unlike the second-homers who truly are destroying communities, in Wales and elsewhere.
And I agree with your comments about trying to set up OPD in England – that would be a very good thing. And of course Welsh people would be welcome.
53Dave Darby October 12th, 2015
PS, instead of ‘hippie’ I’d say ‘someone concerned about what’s happening to the biosphere and would like to do something about it’ – but it doesn’t roll off the tongue so easily.
54Dave Darby October 13th, 2015
Alun, as I said, I would be happy to welcome Welsh people to England, and especially to low-impact smallholdings, so I want to bury the hatchet here.
I just wanted to reply to:
‘And can someone please tell me what is so wrong with england that you all want to leave?’
Apparently there are 500,000 Welsh people living in England – that’s 17% of the population of Wales. There are 600,000 English people in Wales – that’s just over 1% of the population of England.
So really, it’s the Welsh who are leaving. And they’re very welcome here, as far as I’m concerned.
55Steve October 13th, 2015
Alun, no I don’t get you, you appear to just want to hurt others because of some fear you have of them. Your whole approach is to covertly insult to get a reaction and then step back and say why are you reacting to poor me.
56Chris Vernon October 13th, 2015
Alun, I think one of the problems with OPD is that it isn’t promoted very much at all, certainly not in England. I don’t think the Welsh Assembly has done anything which is a real shame given the potential of the policy. I can understand why someone might think OPD is for hippies and back to nature types, but that probably isn’t a fair characterisation. Whilst Lamas is the most prominent development (under the very similar Policy 52), it is just one interpretation of OPD. It is perfectly possible to put forward a sheep based OPD involving a 4×4! At it’s heart all an OPD needs to do meet the occupants basic needs from the land (or bought with income from a land based enterprise), have a low ecological footprint and for buildings to be ‘zero carbon’ in the construction and use (which is pretty straight forward these days).
I hear and appreciate your concerns about Welsh culture. The OPD policy has allowed two, young, local, Welsh speaking families to settle with smallholdings and land-based businesses in their rural communities they couldn’t hope to buy traditional smallholding in. Whilst non-Welsh may also move to Wales under the OPD policy, it would be with less impact than if they where buying up existing housing stock, inflating prices. As with any new policy there are pros and cons, in my opinion the pros of ODP outweigh the cons but what the policy really needs is promotion within the rural Welsh communities.
57Alun October 13th, 2015
Steve, your contribution so far seems to trying to analyse me and not the subject matter.
58One Planet Council October 13th, 2015
Alun, an OPD based on sheep farming is perfectly acceptable (as long as it meets all the other requirements) and it is certainly possible to run a 4×4 and stay within the Ecological Footprint. (Holidays in Australia would be a deal breaker though)
We have not done any promotion of OPD in England, but we hope that similar policies will be adopted there in response to the forward-looking Welsh situation, and will be happy to work with any English groups looking to campaign for such a change. Much of our website is in English, mainly because the Welsh speakers in the group are very busy at the moment and we don’t have vast resources to spend on paid translation (though this is at the top of our list of priorities). An OPC representative gave an interview (yn Gymraeg) on S4C’s Newyddion9 recently. Can you suggest where we might promote OPD to the communities you are thinking of? Perhaps you would consider writing an article about OPD yourself? Please do get in touch to discuss this if you would be interested.
59Alun October 13th, 2015
Dave Darby. In response to comment 54. (55 was less objectionable) Facts & Figures- why not. So using your figures it appears that 20% of wales’s population are english incomers in contrast to 1% of welsh in england. ( Population of england – 53 million – wales 3 million). So in your opinion which of the two will have the greatest effect on cultural dilution? Especially when 1st gen incomers choose culturally sensitive rural areas as opposed to the Cities & areas of high Population densities like the Valleys. See the second map in red pertaining to Place of Birth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Wales
Now on to the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-20701119
Language consultant Cefin Campbell said: “In the western counties we see a lot of parents taking their children, 25-30%, to English-medium secondary schools after a Welsh-language primary education.
“Among the reasons given for this is that non-Welsh speaking parents worry that they won’t be able to help with home work; that the children’s Welsh isn’t good enough to continue with education; that English is a more important medium for education and some have done enough Welsh and do not need to continue with it.”
And Simon Thomas AM gives other reasons for the decline:-
“A lot of that stems from the immigration that has occurred, particularly people retiring without children, so there’s very few new young people in those areas and that certainly has contributed to a decrease in the percentage,” he said.
Page 16 figures 1991 to 2001
This shows a percentage decline far greater than a decline in numbers for welsh speakers within that decade. In fact the number rose by almost 2000 speakers in Ceredigion but the percentage fell by 7%. This is directly due to non welsh speakers moving in. The percentage of speakers has now sharply declined to below 50% in almost every county since the persistent flow of incomers started in the 70’s. So even if we all took a vote it would be ineffective. Democracy may no longer represent us.
To put it simply – Lets say that I & 5 mates move into your household of 3 and we voted on all decisions, you’d loose control over your own house.
I acknowledge that the decline in welsh speakers has many contributing factors, but surely immigration is a significant one.
60Alun October 13th, 2015
Dave Darby. In response to comment 54. (55 was less objectionable) Facts & Figures- why not. So using your figures it appears that 20% of wales’s population are english incomers in contrast to 1% of welsh in england. ( Population of england – 53 million – wales 3 million). So in your opinion which of the two will have the greatest effect on cultural dilution?
61Steve October 13th, 2015
Yea that is the problem with colonists they don’t stick to the subject matter, I am not a great supporter of the method of applying for an OPD. it is too complex and I worry that due to it’s complexity the real information those planning for the future require will get bogged down in a sea of paperwork.
But I do not believe this particular OPD was turned down by the Counsellors because they are defending Welsh culture from the ‘colonists’ or as you say that they are worried about property prices going down implying the people involved in this application were some how undesirable.
62Dave Darby October 13th, 2015
Oh I don’t know, Alun. What do you suggest? Leaving the EU? Leaving the UK? Maybe make it illegal for non-Welsh born people to start businesses or buy property in Wales, and have border posts with passport checks? Is that what you want? You could tax second-homers to the eyeballs. I’d be in favour of that in England let alone Wales. But homeowners generally – do you want prevent non-Welsh born people from living and working in Wales? What is it you want to do exactly?
Remember that other countries could reciprocate.
Some people in London are saying exactly the same thing as you about foreigners coming into London – speaking a different language, changing the culture, places look nothing like they did when people were growing up etc. But I don’t agree with them. Things change.
63Dave Darby October 13th, 2015
see below. Just wondering what you suggest can be done about it.
64Cassandra Lishman October 13th, 2015
Blimey. Not sure I should get involved, but here goes…
I live at Tir-y-Gafel aka Lammas. I am American by birth. I come from Connecticut where there is a large Welsh speaking community. Really. I now live in Glandwr with my English husband & 3 children. My 2 younger children attend Welsh medium schools and are fluent Welsh speakers. I have done 5 years of Adult Education trying to learn Welsh but have reached a bit of a plateau….but I understand most basic Welsh. I am very proud of my children, I believe they feel comfortable speaking both languages despite their parents’ lingual limitations. My son is now learning French through the medium of Welsh – supposed to be easier I hear – very impressive I think. Tri-ligual – how wonderful!
We make a basic living from the land. We try to buy local, integrate as much as possible with local people & support local businesses. OPD is a great thing, the next positive step in planning, and yes it should be taken up all over the UK.
I think the sustainability issue is the main one here. The cultural issues are a matter of respect. I imagine the Welsh community in Connecticut also speak American, right?! As we are also trying (in my case) or succeeding (my children’s case) to speak Welsh.
The main thing for me is – good luck Paul Jennings! Not sure where you are living but I really hope is goes through on appeal.
65Paul Jennings October 13th, 2015
Thanks Cassandra, much appreciated. We’re not too far away – down the road from you, between Whitland and Llanboidy.
66Jacqui Banks October 13th, 2015
I think it is important to remember that no single policy can answer all of the housing, environmental, economic and cultural needs of Wales. But OPD offers an opportunity to a minority of people interested in a particular way of life that were not previously catered for. In return for being allowed to build in areas where development has been prevented for decades there are stringent environmental requirements- a fine balance in my opinion.
Me and my partner have been granted permission for a smallholding under OPD in Pembrokeshire and feel privileged to have the opportunity to live in the open countryside and to build a business in the country we were both brought up. We both speak Welsh, me fluently and my partner to a high learner level. We are both culturally sensitive, I believe, and feel that the more intelligent, keen people in the countryside the better- there is such a lack of rewarding work in the countryside that the majority of my peers live in the city purely for a chance to use the skills they have been taught by our school system. We need more imaginative and hard working people working in agriculture- now more than ever. I do not mean that we do not already have many of these in Wales, because we do. I have huge respect for the farming community which I was immersed in during my upbringing. However, we need many many more agricultural entrepreneurs if we are going to survive unpredictable changes of any sort, be they economical, environmental or cultural, and OPD is one way of getting a few of them now… we need more ways too.
Of course there needs to be cultural sensitivity. But in my opinion the environmental movement and the Welsh cultural movement need to integrate- we all want the same thing- to care for our land. We need more conversations about OPD yn Cymraeg- nid i pobol o tu allan i Cymru yn unig mae’r polisi. Dwi ddim yn Cymru Cymreig, mae’n wir. Ond dwi yn cael cyfle, trwy yr polisi un planed i fyw yn yr wlad lle ges i fagu a mae yna cyfle yna i mwy o pobol, yn cynnwys pobol Cymru Cymraeg.
Good luck to you Paul, and to all of the Rhiw Las, I can see no reason that with such a strong application you should not get through on appeal- hang on in there.
67Paul Jennings October 13th, 2015
Diolch yn fawr, Jacqui.
68John Harrison October 14th, 2015
Just a thought, have you contacted your AM?
69Alun October 14th, 2015
Hi Steve. I too am not a great lover of paperwork & bureaucracy with regard to planning laws. Easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Why ask to borrow Dad’s car when he’ll likely say NO, or at best make it conditional. Instead ask forgiveness IF he finds out. Retrospective planning permission is given easier. Its a risk but so is so much else we do. A demolition order can be expensive for them financially and PR wise if it makes the news.
Now I cant say I know exactly on which merits Carmarthen Council declined permission in the Rhiw las case. My father was a member of our local community council. I got to hear a lot about planning decisions made on the measure of the man and not the application. In any case they knew that despite what they decided they could be over ruled by County Council.
70Alun October 14th, 2015
Dave. No where did I suggest any of the measures you propose should be implemented. Instead I’d like to appeal to people’s sense of responsibility & compassion. Two qualities I’d expect to find in abundance amongst the supporters of Sustainable Living by use of Permaculture methods. Then I’d expect you all to impress upon other english incomers to either integrate or save up a bit more money and try Devon or Northumbria etc ; Because God forbid that a welsh person should inform incomers because he’ll be called a RACIST or even a NAZI.
Typical among your demographic are sympathies for freeing Tibet and Palestine from occupation, which I find to be at odds with knowingly ‘occupying’ wales by means of exploiting economic disadvantages. Wales has historically been tyrannised and occupied by your country. Attempts were made in more recent times to eradicate the language. NEVER has an apology been issued. Even an acknowledgement is hard to come by. Imagine if in years to come China & Israel denies their atrocious actions.
So in light of this history, an english man simply moving to wales, endangering yet again our culture, carries more of a ‘charge’ than if we’d been friendly neighbours all this time.
Just like if a white man referred to a black man black in latin, i.e the ‘N’ word. It has a connotations of violence & oppression. Even the word ‘Welsh’ is incorrect. It is derived from a German word used to refer to the romanized foreigners. It has connotations of slave. And WE”RE the foreigners? Is Y Cymry so hard to say?
So now I think the route to salvation here is for the sympathetic incomer / learner to get on the case of the next wave of incomers /non welsh speaker; Which is why I chose to air my views HERE and not on a Britain First site.
71Alun October 14th, 2015
Hi Cassandra. Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad to hear of the inroads you and your children have made into the welsh culture. Can I ask what your husbands view on learning welsh is?
I’m sure the Welsh communities in Connecticut also speak “American”, I’d be more impressed if they spoke Pequot !
72Steve October 14th, 2015
OK just one point and please anyone else reading this feel free to correct me but there is no English Government recognition of One Planet Development is there?? In other words there is no possibility of doing an OPD in England, there is no system for applying for one.???
73Alun October 14th, 2015
Hi Jacqui. Diolch am yr ymateb ddwyieithog, a llongyfarchiadau i chi’ch dau ar eich llwyddiant ar gais Datblygiad Un Planed ; and I do agree with your points. In reference to a line from your post “But OPD offers an opportunity to a minority of people interested in a particular way of life that were not previously catered for”. I’ve been trying to express this previously on here, except my emphasis is on the fact that the OPD policy is tailored for a ‘particular minority’s way of life’, (Hippy is forbidden word ), and not aimed at the average Cymro Cymreig.
Thank for not condemning the the ffarmers despite their current farming methods, which in any case in west wales, are rarely comparable to intensive industrial agri. Their knowledge of the land is invaluable. They follow the money trail the government lays down. The current trend around our way is to farm renewable energy along side animals for the meat industry. So if there is incentive they are flexible. They are not so stuck in their ways as some might believe.
Unwaith eto, llongyfarchiadau. Mae Sir Benfro yn ardal mor hardd.
74Dave Darby October 14th, 2015
‘No where did I suggest any of the measures you propose should be implemented.’
I know you didn’t – I was pointing out the impossibility of reconciling legislation against people moving or setting up businesses wherever they like and any kind of free society.
‘Instead I’d like to appeal to people’s sense of responsibility & compassion… I’d expect you all to impress upon other english incomers to either integrate or save up a bit more money and try Devon or Northumbria’
‘…. freeing Tibet and Palestine from occupation, which I find to be at odds with knowingly ‘occupying’ wales by means of exploiting economic disadvantages.’
Wales is already in exactly the same situation as Tibet – i.e ruled from Beijing / Westminster. If you campaigned for complete independence I’d support you.
‘Wales has historically been tyrannised and occupied by your country.’
I agree. Absolutely nothing to do with me or Paul (or our ancestors). In fact, the British Empire exploited my ancestors before yours – i.e. the English were the first victims of the British Empire.
‘Attempts were made in more recent times to eradicate the language. NEVER has an apology been issued. Even an acknowledgement is hard to come by.’
Agreed again, and again, nothing to do with me, Paul or ordinary English people. Long live the Welsh language I say.
‘So in light of this history, an english man simply moving to wales, endangering yet again our culture, carries more of a ‘charge’ than if we’d been friendly neighbours all this time.’
Agreed. But I think you need to separate ordinary people from any culture from empires.
‘Is Y Cymry so hard to say?’
I agree. I don’t see why English speakers can’t say Roma or Hellas or Nihon, or why French speakers can’t say England or London etc. Never understood that – as you say, probably something to do with imperialism.
‘So now I think the route to salvation here is for the sympathetic incomer / learner to get on the case of the next wave of incomers /non welsh speaker’
I agree. If you’re going to live somewhere just for a while, I can understand why you wouldn’t go to the trouble of learning the language (although I lived in Japan for a year, and could chat quite well after a few months). But if you’re intending to settle somewhere potentially for the rest of your life, then yes, I think then you should learn the local language. It’s respectful.
BUT – the thing is, people settling in Wales via OPD almost all ARE learning Welsh, as are their children. So I didn’t really understand your initial invective against them, or why you weren’t welcoming them.
Having said all that, I’d prefer a global lingua franca – and easily-learned, no grammatical irregularities, second language for everyone. Then you could speak your native first language, wherever you settle on this planet, but for communication to be possible between anyone, anywhere, everyone just has to learn one second language, and an easy one at that. Ultimately, I don’t think that any culture can be preserved in aspic – not with people (including the Welsh) moving around the world in unprecedented numbers.
75Dave Darby October 14th, 2015
No, not yet.
76Dave Darby October 14th, 2015
‘the OPD policy is tailored for a ‘particular minority’s way of life’, (Hippy is forbidden word ), and not aimed at the average Cymro Cymreig.’
I quite like hippy, but that’s me. OPD is not aimed at the average English person either. The ‘average’ in most countries is corporate consumer, unfortunately. But OPD can help some people escape from that, and when they do it successfully, set an example to others – then maybe the ‘average’ can move away from the corporate, unsustainable world a bit.
77Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
Mae’n rhaid I ni ddysgu, a ddysgu yn gloi iawn, am bethau ynghlyn a “sustainability”, neu, bydd na ddim Cymru, na ddaear o gwbl i’r un ohonym ni.
78Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
I agree, Alun! OPD for England is a brilliant idea! As usual it is left to Cymru & “Scotland” to show the way!
I have been thinking long & hard about this recently. In some ways it is a class issue; the dispossessed in both countries are much the same & face the same issues. TBF, Alun, I don’t think many “incomers” realise this. They just think they are buying some land. They are not aware of the history, & the cultural issues. They probably wonder why they sometimes face hostility. I am aware, & I believe it is a credit to the Cymraeg that they have extended such tolerance & warm friendship as they have. The counrtyside desperately needs repopulating. Firstly, because small scale husbandry (as practiced locally until very recently; & destroyed by policies from westminster & brussels; e.g. milk quotas & nitrate fertilizer compulsory in WW2 or have your farm (family home for generations) seized & you & your family on the streets. this is a little of the history, & there is much much more.)..small scale, sustainable agriculture is essential for the survival of the planet & all life on it. Simple as that. Secondly, rural repopulation is a good idea because some poor old farmers are dying of loneliness. Villages are dying. So sad to see my village school closed. This is where I actually agree with John, because OPD is much too restrictive. Is not how real people usually live. (& how many pumpkins does one village need?). Is certainly not how most young locals want to live, going back to hardships their grandparents worked so hard to improve. Real people work as you say, as nurses; teachers; buiders; or at the uni. etc. They should be allowed affordable housing in the cefngwlad. (countryside). We all need to work together on this one; we are so tangled up in red tape we are out of touch with the real issue; achub y ddaear. (saving the earth). There will be no Cymru or anywhere else for any of us to enjoy, if we don’t prioritise & fast-track real sustainability, & fast. So please, please, boys, let’s put our grievances & differences aside, (& maybe ask some councillors & other local Cymraeg about their grievances & histories, so you understand?), & get on with the much more important work of making sure there is a byd (world) for any of us? Un Byd. (One World). Pob Cariad xx
79Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
What he just said…! nice one, Alun!
Fel y dwedodd Alun… spot on.
80Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
I meant Paul not John, sorry. Apologies. Read a lot fast!
81Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
I believe caerphilly council have gone to Llammas to learn…
82Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
where’s that little thumbs up icon?
83Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
os rhaid ateb? “what is wrong with england that you all want to leave?” (dan chwerthin) (laughing) !
84Jane Wilkins October 14th, 2015
the thumbs up is for Rob. sorry folks. Not used to being on one of these things.
85Dave Darby October 14th, 2015
I’d vote for you. And yes, we need ‘like’ buttons.
86Stefan C October 15th, 2015
Some healthy discussion here. Alun (and anyone else here), you say you “admire the principle of OPD” and judging by your contributions to this thread and the One Planet Council facebook page I presume that you have an interest in exploring this further and making a positive contribution. If you’d like to see OPD benefit the “average Cymro Cymreig” (which it can) and the “ffarmers” (which it also can) then why not play a part in making this happen? The One Planet Council is a totally independent and voluntary body in its early stages. Those involved recognise the need to broaden its representation and reach out to as many people as possible from different walks of life. This can happen by people coming forward with the skills, connections and commitment. Anyone is welcome to play and contribute in a constructive manner.
You could go even further and pioneer your own One Planet Development where you live, and by doing so you would show others that they can do so too. Y Cymry and the world need many more people experimenting with models such as OPD. Business as usual just won’t do.
87Marc October 16th, 2015
Not sure if this helps but may be worth teasing out some strands here. There is no DIRECT link between the welsh language (and culture) and the planning system. Money has been spent looking for one but its not there. This is hardly surprising given that in principle the system is about buildings and stuff like that and not about who lives in them. As such a particular development may help or harm the language/culture entirely depending on who lives in it. Furthermore in terms of people leaving their homeland this is mostly about an absence of economic activity to sustain them not about housing issues per se. The Welsh government having previously said that the effect of development on the language was a legitimate planning issue have now acknowledged these problems by saying that the effect of policy on the language needs to be assessed at the time of the development of policy and not at the time of policies application to individual developments.
So far so good but this is something of a cop out since no one knows how to do that. As such I can understand (without sympathising) that local Counsellors feel defensive about protecting their culture and way of life when the only power they have to do so is by refusing applications. To do anything else requires a great deal of thought and the development of a holistically compelling argument for the rural areas of wales which allows an integrated approach to providing opportunity for young people so that they don’t leave. Leaving is the real problem and I will return to that in a minute.
What is clear is that LID provides an extra means of livelihood which those who speak Welsh are as able to take up as others and if they do then they can solve both their housing needs and their economic ones together. The problem is that many of them come from farming backgrounds and as such know what subsistence farming feels like through family history etc. What needs to be stressed is that this is not about going backwards its about going forwards and we need to explain what will be different eg what’s wrong with having a washing machine (subject to embodied energy issues) as long as the electricity it runs on is renewable?
Returning to the leaving problem it is a fact that in some parts of rural wales the depopulation during the second half of he 19th century and the first half of the 20th has meant that population levels have only recently worked their way back up to those which existed in 1870. This fact is central to the whole debate. People left for largely economic reasons. They have since been replaced by those who have come for largely economic ones coupled with “lifestyle choice” ones (so called counter urbanisation). If you could buy a barn for a “mere” £100K then why not move to wales and live the “good life”. Similarly if you can sell your derelict stone barn for £100K (are these incomers mad!) then why not sell it. To blame those who do is as pointless as complaining when those of us who oppose capitalism buy an occasional coffee at Costa!
The next point is that if you consider the economic situation in 1870 it is highly likely that “localness” was a key feature. ie that the area was largely self sufficient (pre railways and pre supermarkets). So if it could achieve this in 1870 then it should be possible now? If its possible then what is needed to make it happen. LID could be a key component of making it a reality but as has been pointed out “one planet” development may be a hindrance. The reason is that none but the hardiest can aspire to getting their footprint so low and if they cant then either things get fudged or you loss your permission. Would it not be more honest to say that LID is to be related to the average planet use? So if that is currently 3 planets then LID development is (say) anything below 2 planets. It may be said that this is stupid because we don’t have 2 planets but there is no reason why you can’t have a moving target so that as the average uk planet use falls (and if it doesn’t we are all done for in the long run anyway) so the LID definition moves ahead of it lighting the way to further reduction.
By taking up such a position LID will become more popular and will “reach out” to those who want to live more simple community based lives but who don’t want to have to be full time “peasant” farmers. As such its more likely to appeal to local people in less well paid work as a way of both preserving language and culture through community and providing them with “affordable” housing (build your own LID for maybe £10K?).
Finally if we are to move from a situation where we have policy to a position where that policy is actively supported at a local level we need to think about overcoming the protective urge of local counsellors. Part of this is about incomers actually learning the language and accessing the culture while another part is acknowledging that culture is a shared thing not necessarily or wholly dependant on language. What is needed is for a council to be brave here and to set up a Low impact “enterprise zone”.
Why would they want to? Well its not much talked about but in fact tourism is a bigger source of revenue locally in many areas than farming. All to often councils say “we are in favour of tourism” without focusing on why people come. Many come for the scenery and as such the positive promotion of “green” tourism as a USP for your county would be likely to earn added tourist income.
The creation of an enterprise zone would play to that agenda and so support not only existing local businesses but also new ones linked to LID.
In short we all need to be on the same side and we have good reason to do so. It is not the case that what benefits incomers prejudices locals. We need a strong economy with affordable housing giving rise to a strong sense of place and local community which promotes assimilation not isolation.
Imagine a future where a ring of LID developments around a rural town feeds into a local economy dominated by a strong local market where people shop and sell and both languages are heard and bridges are built.
It not only can be done it must be done.
88Stefan Cartwright October 16th, 2015
Spot on Marc.
There is a great need for accessible different models to demonstrate that householders can effectively reduce their consumption, become more resourceful, enrich their environment and offers something useful something to their local community. The measurement aspect of OPD is crucial to this and it need not be a burden. Quite the contrary. That said, the One Planet target is demanding and there is a great need for a version which is perceived as more achievable. There’s nowt wrong with the term ‘One Planet’, nor is there a problem with having it as a collective aim as the survival of our species on this planet depends on it. What’s vital is that it’s understood as a process of transition and those who choose to pioneer, experiment and demonstrate ways it can happen are given the chance. and given some leeway. A more enlightened society would champion such people.
This needs to be argued for and won. Edge of settlement OPD is a good place to start.
89Steve October 16th, 2015
Hmm if we don’t move to a One Planet way of life we are not doomed it will just be business as usual so for example we will demand out Tshirts are made by kids in sweat shops that live a life of near slavery as we steal their share of this ONE earth. Same with our chocolate. Have you seen the Oxfam ad how we have halved poverty, go see it online and find the woman so happy she has a few ducks now and sells 12 eggs a day. You and me we squander other people’s birth right to resources on this earth for our comfort. Can you imagine someone in Wales living off the sales of 12 eggs and happy because that is an improvement on her life?? This insular Welsh culture is not for me or my welsh partner, neither of us will be learning Welsh when we move back there to be closer to her family. Just like the Welsh in Patagonia who don’t embrace the local culture. So yea it is not that we will all starve, just those who we steal the resources from will suffer as they have been doing through history but I don’t want to be part of that I want to live to live a One Planet Life, even if it means making my own Tshirts.
90Dave Darby October 16th, 2015
It’s a tricky one. The average UK citizen has a 3ish-planet footprint, and if it were easier to achieve, and (say) 1000 people moved from a 3-planet to a 2-planet footprint, it would have a greater overall effect than if 100 people moved from a 3-planet to a one-planet footprint.
But ‘Two-planet Development’ really doesn’t have the same ring or appeal – and would be easy to ridicule, when people point out that we don’t actually have two planets.
91John Harrison October 16th, 2015
I don’t know about doomed if we don’t go ‘one planet’ but I do suspect we’re riding for a fall. I’m wary of claiming the end is nigh as I’ve seen a number of doomsday prophecies fail to happen over the years but as we approach population peak and food demand peak globally we also face major disruptions due to climate change (drought, flood & storm). Couple in increasing energy costs and either oil shortage or the price zooming (which modern agriculture is dependent on) and 2050 is set to be globally tough. Not that industrial agriculture is sustainable – half the topsoil is gone and much of current farming practice is the equivalent of strip-mining.
I’ve little faith in technological solutions to this, unless we end up eating ‘Soylent Green’ (if that’s obscure, sorry – google it).
The UK’s overall population density is high and our (UK) relative economic power, wealth, may not be enough to keep us fed adequately. In WW2 despite ‘Dig for Victory’ and rationing the UK only managed to be 50% self-sufficient. The population then was around 45M and in 2050 likely to be nearer 80M.
I believe our best hope is to bring as much of our food production as possible into the small scale which is more productive and sustainable along with bringing unproductive land into productive but sustainable use via permaculture and sheer hard work. The time to start this was years ago, turning low quality land into productive land is a 10 year task at least.
92Steve Gwynne October 21st, 2015
As a teenager I was brought up in Wales and reading Alun’s articulate and almost eloquent posts brings backs all the memories of racism I was subjected to by both fellow students and teachers alike. As a result I grew to hate the Welsh culture and the Welsh mentality which I now know to be Welsh nationalism of the xenophobic variety. To some extent I am still scarred by these often violent and needless to say abusive experiences.
However what Alun does not realise in his blind hateful rhetoric is that his very actions and words are the true source of why his notion of Welsh culture is being diluted. If on the otherhand his approach was friendly and welcoming, the opportunity to transmit his notion of Welsh culture (which by the way he has not described in any exact way at any point in his tirades) would happen effortlessly. This highlights the true problem, that Alun does not make the positive effort to interact in such a way as to share his values and notions of Welsh culture. Instead he and his friends seperate themselves from new arrivals, slag off, moan and bitch about them behind closed doors. At the same time of course the very culture that he wishes to see promoted is also locked away behind closed doors. Therefore Alun it is you and your attitude that is diluting your notion of Welsh culture. And as long as you keep your notion of culture behind closed doors and faol to interact with new comers in a friendly and hospitable way it is also you that is actually promoting the erosion of your culture, noone else.
So I say to you and your friends, take pride and responsibilty for your notion of Welsh culture, share it, engage others in it in a friendly and hospitable way and stop hiding it behind closed doors and stop blaming others for your own self-inflicted cultural dilution.
93Steve Gwynne October 21st, 2015
Abit off topic but just eish to express my frustration that even when a national policy promotes low impact (or hippy) ways of living, local authorities are making it difficult for these essentially carbon offsetting ways of surviving almost impossible to realise.
Personally I think we are dealing with a fear that has historical origins and one that historically existed between the lords and the peasants. So even today the metaphorical lords do not wish to see the realisation of low impact initiatives because this would mean having to share the land and in so doing bringing about a greater sense of equality amongst humans and god forbid amongst humans and non-humans.
This I realise is exactly why the notion of being hippy is so often treated with contempt and instead the general populace of most nations of european heritage effectively gives up on any true potential to realise sustainability. Low impact living is not just a personal lifestyle choice but a political imperative in order to counterbalance the many high and medium impact activities.
This highlights how narrow national perspectives are not sustainable in that we need to take a more global approach of how we use land. So for example if land in Wales is more adapted to provide for basic needs in a low impact way then this should be promoted, not just for national sustainability reasons but also for global sustainability reasons.
Our national systems need to change in order to balance high, medium and liw impact activity so it is within ecological limits. This means sharing and distributing resources to meet this requirement and this will mean change. And foremost a change of perspective from parochial concerns to a more global concern. This should form part of the OPD message and as mentioned above be transmitted in such a way to be an inclusive collaborative experience but most importantly one that brings everyone to the same level of understanding of sustainability and resilience. It would seem that if local councillors are rejecting low impact living then the political system also needs to change since what good is a system when local politicians who would prefer to see us all dead have the power to actually decide that.
All very difficult I know but where is the accountability of these councillors whose sole priority is to reject sustainability and instead vote for crisis.
94Alun October 21st, 2015
There we are then Steve, settle in, i’ve got a bit to say.
Despite all I’ve said you’ve just gone and found a way tilt this debate so that we ( Y Cymry) are entirely responsible for the dilution and subsequent erosion of our own culture, because we’re not welcoming or friendly enough? I cant say you are out right wrong, but if you pull that off then you truly do get to have your cake & eat it.
So in brief – The English ( nobility or otherwise) get to take the piss out of this country for centuries, more recently asset strip its mineral wealth, deliberately try to outlaw the language & currently you( the english people) buy up our countryside just because its cheaper than in england thereby putting further pressure on our culture; & WE are at fault if our culture goes tits up; And also we should’ve been nice & friendly despite all that. No bias due to being bullied at school then?
The worst that you’ve likely ever encountered is angry words from welsh people, who’m, I should point out, were still doing you the curtesy of telling you so in your own language. No rocks thrown, no bombing campaigns aimed at civilians. But if we so much as utter a word of resistance then we’re at fault. What should we do to get this message across then Steve? Self harm in protest? Like that iconic picture of the Buddhist monk on fire. Well that would suit some of you i’m sure.
As for school, bullying occurs wherever there are bullies. Bullies will use any difference such as Language, religion, hair colour (ginger), appearance (trendy clothes or not) etc as a justification to dispense prejudice. On the other hand If I put my child in a school in Baghdad or Kabul now or any time in the next half a millennium I shouldn’t be surprised, given whats gone down recently, that they would be the focus of an anti British / West sentiment. Not because my child started the war, it’s just that he’d be the closest they’d have to a representative to account for the injustices of the past.
Just like when I am a tourist in India I get ‘reminded’ by many of the Indians of how they suffered under British rule. Those with harder lives and less linguistic skills resort to more hateful expressions . Not that the British occupation was my fault personally , but clearly I have an advantaged life in comparison to most Indians. Mostly due to the excessive plundering of countries like India done during colonial times under the British empire. We’d all do well to remember that. Oh and don’t tell them ‘We gave you your railways’ before you read up on your history.
We want to act like we’re a nationless citizen of Earth. But so long as some are born more equal than others the ‘Citizen of Earth ‘ status will have to wait until we work off the Karma of our nation. A big fat ‘sorry’ would go a long way. And the same applies to England,s relationship with its Celtic neighbours.
So you believe that we ( y Cymry) are at the heart of our own undoing. We should be even more friendly. Despite us ( my family ) being the last but one welsh family in our immediate area we have gone to great lengths to welcome and accommodate incomers, for the good its done us. And we continue to do so. And your wrong if think I spend my days spitting and cursing at english people. I didn’t learn this level of english from books or school but from fraternizing & integrating into english society. A society now superimposed onto our society. One that starts beyond our bottom field and onwards most of the way to town. One that by and large will never return the favour of integrating with us. When in Rome……
I know some of you will, do and have learned welsh. Some of wales’s great leaders as well as freedom fighters are english born or have learned welsh as a second language. But if it doesn’t make sense to you why you’d want to integrate into your host’s community then I’m at a loss to say why you should. Should we be more like the Irish and promote welsh stereotypes, sugar coat it for you? Be all jovial and do a little dance? I’d hate to see our culture sell out its integrity just to try and make our onetime subjugators to find us more pleasing and amenable.
But if I had to tell you why you’d want to learn the language and integrate, and if you want me to define more of the ‘welsh culture’ it would sound a bit like this:-
To me the language is the key to the culture. Learn the language and you will access our traditions like the eisteddfod and our poetry. You will access the stories of our older generation, some of their stories were from their grandfathers and theirs & so on. Learn the language and you’ll know the meaning of place names and their hidden histories, the names of rocks, and geographical features. The names of fields. How many of you reading this post know the names of your fields? Some names will tell you there is a spring there, or a cemetery or a site of a battle or a house etc. Speak welsh and you will make funny sounds heard around here since before the Romans left Rome. Learn the language and you are in direct contact with this information, history becomes current. Learn all this translated into english and its someone else’s story & not your own and you will hold your self at arms length from this culture.
So yes, English is practical and universal. We all speak it anyway. So in such an utilitarian age why would you learn to carve a wooden spoon when there are billions of cheap practical spoons and you already own many? You may never eat with your wooden spoon, So why bother? Why learn to play an instrument when you could do it on a computer? Same goes for drawing & painting. To me welsh has a hand made time worn quality. It used to rage like a wild fire across Britain. It is the British language. But now its a flame and you are carelessly blowing at it. You could re light it if it went out, Like Cornish. But would it be the same flame.
95Steve Gwynne October 21st, 2015
Alun you are already speaking to the converted with regards the desire to learn about the folklore of the land. Who do you think we are – ex-professionals from the city looking for a cheap insular lifestyle.
Your initial hostility reflected your sentiments and bias and all this was said before even taking the time to get to know anyone on this forum. You just trolled in with your unfounded prejudices and rolled all English into one.
Obviously a very convenient perspective for you to take given your frustrations and contempt but as I said you didnt do yourself any favours whatsoever by entering the discussion with an open heart and mind.
Obviously I cant speak for anyone who eitherbwishes or foes practice low impact living but for myself I like to make friends, become part of a community, develop working relationships and learn the history of where I am. For some reason you serm to think that all people who are born in England are completely devoid of these desires. That is your problem not mine.
96Alun October 22nd, 2015
Ok Steve. I’ll go point by point for you using your words.
I quote – “You just trolled in with your unfounded prejudices and rolled all English into one”.
“didnt do yourself any favours whatsoever by entering the discussion with an open heart and mind”.
The previous two lines contradict your next quote –
“I grew to hate the Welsh culture and the Welsh mentality which I now know to be Welsh nationalism of the xenophobic variety. ” Seems you are equally comfortable with rolling us into one and entering a discussion not with an open heart nor mind here but ‘Hate’. Steve really. And you’ve called MY Rhetoric “Blind & Hateful”
Then we have “Your initial hostility reflected your sentiments and bias and all this was said before even taking the time to get to know anyone on this forum”. Which contradicts this line – “Instead he and his friends seperate themselves from new arrivals, slag off, moan and bitch about them behind closed doors”. Sounds just like you being ‘hostile’ before taking the time to get to know me. Do you know my friends? & I’m clearly airing my views publicly and not behind closed doors.
Steve, Like a few others in this discussion you’ve aimed most of your retorts at me and not what I’ve said. Many of the things you accuse me of can also be found languishing in your paragraphs. So after finding enough slack in your argument to hang you I diagnose a classic case of projection, terminal but not serious.
Oh yeah could you please explain this one – “stop blaming others for your own self-inflicted cultural dilution”. How do you propose that we have culturally diluted ourselves? Genius.
97John Harrison October 22nd, 2015
I thought trolls were part of Nordic culture until I read Alun’s comments. ?
98Steve Gwynne October 22nd, 2015
I was simply pointing out your behaviour. If you want to take that as your whole being that is your choice.
Yes I did get to a stereotype regarding those that demonstrated a xenophobic version of welsh nationalism towards me. Now I just see that brhaviour is rooted in onsevurity and a fear of change.
Obviously cultures are changing all the time and ciltures are always mixing. You seem unable to understand this hence your projections of fear and hostility.
All I can say to you Alun that your hostility has done you no favours. Own your prejudices, own your unwarranted hostility and you never know we might get to know each other beyond your need to be territorial and your need for everyone to be just like you.
99Steve Gwynne October 22nd, 2015
Maybe there is something in the Mabinogion about the welsh version of trolls ????
100Steve Gwynne October 22nd, 2015
In terms of getting to know me. I see my ethnicity as being British (Briton) not english!
However in the main I just see myself as being a human located on Earth. And as that human with a British ethnicty, my spatial perspective tends to be global rather than regional, although I do think it is important to engage with regional politics. Customs and tradition are for me important considerations in that respect since for me it is important to acknowledge history and heritage. Why, because history and heritage are often useful respositories of knowledge especially regarding working with both Nature and the land and so this helps me to identify how best to create sustainability and resilience at different spatial levels.
101Steve Gwynne October 22nd, 2015
Also Im pretty much a hippy ????. Well perhaps more of a redneck hippy.
102Stefan Cartwright October 22nd, 2015
Hi Steve, and anyone else reading this thread. If you are interested in Low impact / One Planet Development and seeing change happen, then contribute to the One Planet Council by attending one of our monthly meetings. We are a non-hierarchical grass routes movement, which is both independent and unfunded: Just this last year we hosted and ran a successful training event attended by case officers from Welsh Local Planning Authorities.
103Steve Gwynne October 23rd, 2015
Thanks for that. I try to keep mysrlf up yo date with meeting etc but presently in Birmingham trying to initiate low impact living in urban environments.
104Steve Gwynne October 23rd, 2015
Self inflicted cultural dilution = the cause of your hostile and aggressive (contemptous) attitude is creating the effect of alienating yoursrlf from new settlers which reduces the likelihood of new settlers interacting with Welsh speakers.
On a more community level, owners of property and land are not selling to the indigenous but to whoever will give them the best price. In this respect I can only suggest having a word with your local estate agents. If they will not listen then contact uour local councillors, MPs or the Welsh Assembly.
105Sam May 16th, 2016
Great and informative article, Paul.
I recently found out about the One Planet Development policy, and as a soon to be qualified architect with a history of working on WWOOF farms, I dream of being able to one day join and contribute to a OPD community.
106Martin King July 13th, 2016
wow, sorry, I meant to say, WOW. If only life was perfect. If only we could all happily confine ourselves to our own bubble, however large or small that might be. Globalization is kicking us all in the ass. And so is “Health and Safety”. These are pervasive and severely encroach on our ability to preserve our traditions and way of life. Whatever it was, we are loosing it, it’s being eroded. Shit happens. The only way to hold onto traditions and cultural significance is to be part of a vibrant community which upholds those values and that is their responsibility. Why should Wales, as we know it, be immune to these pressures. I don’t see myself as having a cultural identity because it has been lost. I congratulate peoples who can hold onto their identity. But to try to do so at the expense of newcomers is surely a recipe for the inevitable loss of their way of life. To include people is to allow for the situation to evolve. The strength of culture within that environment is wholly dependent on the vibrancy of that culture and its ability to engage with and incorporate people into its culture.
107Adam York September 10th, 2016
An earlier point about proximity to settlements.A OPD developement in open countryside will have a big carbon footprint if it is not served by a bus or train service Eg Lammas.Participants inevitably want free movement and use of motor vehicles will be substancial.Proximity close enough to walk,or regularly cycle,is a good starting point rather than any “Good Life ” notions.
Notions about food production also seem woolly by many interested in OPD developments.While opportunities for fruit+veg production exist in particularly coastal and SW districts,these are often specific and below say 400ft above sea level.Welsh arable ie grain,the basis of all contemporary diets, is food production that needs action.This won’t be resolved with scythes and watermills. There also seems zero interest in food retailing despite most settlements having only Tesco/Aldi and occasional poorly run wholefood shops.Most Welsh people are interested in supporting anything locally owned or run……
Younger Welsh speaking people need housing at reasonable cost,rented or bought,to remain in Wales.OPD policy could help if developed further but few other initiatives are happening.Nobody at the Senedd or elsewhere seems to be exercised about this publicly.A more radical post Carwyn Jones Labour grp might act?
108Paul Baker November 4th, 2016
Interesting read Paul, where are things at now a year on?
109Paul Jennings November 4th, 2016
Hi Paul, the Planning Inspectorate ruled in our favour, awarded us costs and said that Carmartenshire County Council had behaved irresponsibly. We are now legal to live on the land and build; we have to navigate our way through a policy which, although flawed in my opinion, is the best we have anywhere in the UK and beyond, and I have to carry on improving my Welsh!
110kasia March 20th, 2017
Hi Paul..Wow!..this is truly a really inspiring story!..we are currently borrowing money and trying to do the same- looking for land currently in Wales- its a bit daunting this whole planning thing- its the living on the land that brings me peace and joy 1..just a question- ive been reading the One World Policy for Wales and all the stippulations and rules an dim v confused about the ecological footprint they keep going on about – e.g.When they say they want each person living on the land to have 1.88 hectares- does that mean that each person on land can have a MAXIMUM of 1.88 hectares- including babies and children?..so we are looking currently at a 20 acre site so thats around 10 hectares- does that mean we can only have 4-5 people living on the land ? or 4- 5 families?…or can we put as many people and dwellings as we believe will reasonably fit on the land to produce a good quality of life and agricultural prroduction..also- how do you generate electricityy- is it like lammas with pholtovoltaic solar energy- or so you produce hydro electric power from a running stream- which is amazing- but really expensive initial start up cost1..soo amazing to hear a positiv eoutcome- really pushing us forward..every one should be entitled to a liottle piece of the land if they relally wish to work and live on it!..WELL DONE!!
111GM April 12th, 2017
That’s wonderful news, congratulations.
112Richard Evans May 7th, 2017
Anyone interested in buying 2 acres of flat land, rural roadside entrance, mains water available in beautiful Pembrokeshire between Haverfordwest and Broad Haven please let me know-could be ideal for OPD
113D carney May 9th, 2017
I have been following this conversation..wow…a little heated and extreme at times!
Firstly, I would like to say a huge congrats to Paul and his wife for their success. Both my partner and I lost everything a few years back through an accident and breakdown. We started again from scratch, he retrained as an electrician and I write and teach, we both have a very strong interest in permaculture, rural conservation and sustainability, we also plan to build a straw/cob house one day, eco friendly and off grid.
We have a strong business plan in working off the land with proven experience and so hope to buy a small plot of land with our savings in 2019, but, and I have got to be honest, we are really scared about the whole issue on planning, we don’t have a lot and our savings will be all we will have to both buy the land/set up and go through planning.
We know we can make a success of it (i.e working the land and making a reasonable living) I only wish we could do it here in Warwickshire. But neither of us know how to win round the planners, or if its even possible? It scares me so much, but we will just have to find a way. Are there people who volunteer to help you through the process? would the UK even contemplate something so forward thinking if you could prove you could make a living from working the land? any help or advice would be appreciated.
J and D
114D carney May 9th, 2017
can you email us [email protected]
115layingdownroots May 9th, 2017
Check out http://tlio.org.uk/chapter7/
116Alice Janine Evans July 7th, 2017
I’m interested [email protected]
117Yvonne Crone August 14th, 2018
What sort of financial back up do you need to start this Paul and how do you do it without taking out a mortgage ? How are things with you now?
118Paul Jennings August 16th, 2018
More than we had, Yvonne. Take Richard Perkins’ advice very seriously and aim to start Permaculture projects with very low or no debt. It seems to me that £100,000 would be a practical minimum for purchase of land, construction of buildings and investment in a land based business. Obviously, you don’t need all that up front, but during the first 5 years. This isn’t easy in some of the poorest regions in northern Europe (West Wales is the poorest.). In effect, without the establishment of trusts or Government intervention to make land available or to hold land in trust for OPD projects this will, I think remain a fringe trend, helping those with resources to pursue the good life.
For us, we would be financially best served, it seems to me, selling our plot to people who would like to take on an OPD but don’t want the planning process, and would quite like to have a cabin to move into and garden already established, and then we could go back to France, buy a little place with a plot of land and sort our finances out! ?
The project is going nicely, really. These things take time when you don’t have money behind you. I can see ways in which OPD might work for people with really modest means…….. co-ops, land trusts, really good very cheap building design (we have done our best, but still spent £12k to house the family)……… it’s not something that I think can be easily combined with mortgages of any kind unless one of you happens to have a well paid job, rich parents,or a secret life of crime. ?
119stefan cartwright August 16th, 2018
Well said Paul, as another person living on a One Planet Development smallholding, I think you are spot on with your analysis of practical minimum set up costs for a permaculture project. This fact needs to be made clearer IMHO. We are fortunate to have an income from work we can do without having to travel outside. The initial investment of our time and resources in the businesses early years means that we can spend more time developing growing food, developing the infrastructure and implementing longer term sustainable systems. For us, with two young kids to provide for also, the project wouldn’t be possible if one of us had to become a wage slave. We are fortunate that our current financial position has allowed us to to buy land and build. Saying this it took us many years to get here, saving the little excess money we had while renting a mix of good and not so good places. For anyone looking to live far more sustainably, I’d say don’t hesitate, start the process now. Though it may take a while to be in a position to buy land and cover set-up costs of building shelter and infrastructure.
120Jeff Docherty November 2nd, 2019
would you be able to include a link for your application, it could be a valuable template and encourage others, in what could be a daunting task particularly for those with less resources.
Thank you Jeff
121urbanmister June 8th, 2020
Alan, as a LondonIrish lad whose family is from a Gaeltacht region of Ireland, I feel ya. But am also concerned that I wouldn’t be welcome by you to invest in Wales under OPD to build a sustainable smallholding. I love Wales,have many talents, skills and experience that I believe could flourish under OPD and weigh up whether Wales,Ireland or indeed warmer climes may work for my aspirations.
OPD is definitely a niche, perhaps you’d agree a culturally (indeed most metrics) sensitive cohort…..and exactly the sort who would be keen to learn more about the names of the fields, and why.
These are not commuters, OPD could be………is? Welsh culture, think about it. These are your friends…….
As for me, if I ever do find a place to my fancy in Wales then I can pull out my joker….although my fathers side are named as an old tribe of Ireland in the four annals my mothers side were colonists from Wales that invaded Ireland in 1170s!
Would I be returning home?
122urbanmister June 8th, 2020
Alun, my apologies
123Geoff October 21st, 2020
Cornwall doing a similar thing ..