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Steward Wood get planning permission

affinity woodland workers cooperative | 16.08.2002 09:34 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles

two year old sustainable community living in devon woodland get 5 years temporary planning permission to continue living in benders.


Sustainable Woodland Community gains planning permission

Today the inhabitants of Steward Community Woodland received a 5 year temporary planning permission to continue their sustainable woodland living project.
This decision comes as the culmination of two years of planning applications and appeals to the Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Planning Inspectorate.
The permission means that the 7 benders and assorted communal structures (bikeshed, longhouse, kitchen, workshop) are now safe, and that the community now have a five year period to further develop the project and achieve their aims.
The permission has been granted subject to various conditions to safeguard the low impact nature of the project, and the Dartmoor National Park Authority will have the chance to annually assess the group's progress.

The community comments:
"We are overjoyed by this far sighted decision, which shows that the Planning Inspectorate recognises the importance of our project, and fully supports what we are doing here.
We knew it would be a struggle to get planning permission under the present planning system as it makes no systematic allowances for low impact developments of this kind. We are delighted to finally get a positive result after all our hard work.
It is heartening to see the Inspectorate referring to the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Government's commitments to supporting sustainable practice.
The planning conditions attached to this permission will ensure that this project remains sustainable and continues to have a positive impact on the local ecology and the surrounding community."

For the full text of the decision visit our website at

The attached planning conditions are summarised as follows:

>The permission lapses at the end of five years.
>No petrol or diesel generators to be used on site.
>No more than three resident's vehicles on site.
>No more than ten visitor's vehicles on site.
>No new caravan, mobile home, vehicle, building, structure or tent to be brought onto the site, positioned or erected without the written approval of the DNPA.
>The present structures cannot be moved without the written permission of the DNPA.
>A written report to be submitted to the DNPA on the 1st April every year detailing the activities carried out in compliance with the Business Plan, the Management and Biodiversity Action Plan, and criteria for sustainable

Project background -
Steward Community Woodland was set up in April 2000 as a permaculture based
sustainable living project, integrating conservation woodland management, organic growing and low impact living. We aim to encourage and enable environmental awareness and solutions by providing examples of sustainable land use and appropriate technologies.
We live in canvas and wood structures on the side of the Wray valley one mile south of Moretonhampstead.

Steward Wood is a 32 acre plantation
consisting mostly of Japanese Larch, Scots' Pine and Ash. There are presently six of us living here, with a 5 month old baby. For more information see our website -

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. congratulations! — Tara
  2. great - probably — johny