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Planning battle continues for StewardWood

Affinity | 21.09.2002 09:10 | Free Spaces | Social Struggles

The planning struggle continues for Steward Woodland which recently won their appeal against enforcement action. Now the National Park Authority plans to appeal themselves...




Dartmoor National Park Authority to appeal against Steward Community Woodland's planning permission.

At the DNPA's September Planning Committee Meeting the Authority resolved to seek leave to appeal to the High Court against the recently granted planning permission. The DNPA is seeking to overturn the 5 year temporary permission (granted by the Planning Inspectorate) to dwell in the woodland in low impact structures and carry out a sustainable project.

Pete Cow, a community member, said:

"We are disappointed by this move, which will mean a lot more time and energy and money being spent by us and the DNPA on an issue we thought had finally been resolved. The public and press were barred from the part of the meeting that dealt with this decision, so we have no idea why they chose to go down this route. Hopefully they will see sense and halt this process before it goes all the way to the High Court

"It seems strange and sad that just two months after the government gave the National Parks a million pounds to promote sustainable developments (see notes to editor) that they are so obstinately and expensively trying to close down our sustainable project.

"This decision was taken out of their hands and decided independently by the Planning Inspectorate, yet they choose to carry on their opposition. We are seeking legal advice from our solicitor as to the next step, although for once the DNPA are the ones with a case to prove."

Notes to editors:

1. The community received a five year temporary permission on the 12th August 2002. More details can be viewed on our press release at

2. Alun Michael, Minister for Rural affairs announced the 'Sustainable Development Fund' on the 2nd July 2002.

Martin Fitton, Chief Executive of the Association of National Park Authorities, said: 'These Funds will challenge organisations, individuals and businesses to come forward with new ideas for achieving a more sustainable way of living in the countryside…and they will be aimed at innovative ideas so that they can be tried and tested.'

Nick Atkinson of the DNPA said: These Sustainable Development Funds are a great opportunity for people of the area and we would be interested in hearing from anyone with innovative ideas that demonstrate sustainability - for example renewable energy, better use of woodlands, promoting local foods or community projects.'

More details about this grant can be seen at -

3. 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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21.09.2002 09:27

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