A beautiful 3.27 ha woodland plot near Bethlehem, in the Breacon Beacons National Park, Wales is available for a family with children who would like to pursue the One Planet Development (OPD) route as part of a 2-household shared equity co-housing scheme.

The opportunity is open to expressions of interest until April 2022.

The available plot’s main growing area is split in two; a 0.10 ha area which includes the house plot, and a separate 0.06 ha area. The woodland coppice comprises a total 3.10 ha mixed native broadleaf. The OPD plot is therefore suitable for wood related and smaller land based horticulture businesses.

 

The plot is within a larger 30 ha woodland of which 15 ha has been dedicated to woodland conservation. 4 ha of the remaining 15 ha is dedicated to a newly approved OPD which is managed by James and Sara. James runs a small mushroom business and Sara a woodwork enterprise. They have two children (4 and 8) and hope another family may join. Due to the somewhat intertwined layout of the OPD areas and shared infrastructure, the prospective OPD plot holders must be interested in working co-operatively to manage resources beyond being just neighbours. The two OPD plots are also a part of the wider objectives of the Land Trust and any prospective family must therefore also be interested in working together as stewards for the woodland as a whole. It is welcomed, but not required, that the other OPD applicants take an interest in the management of the separate 15 ha conservation area.

Therefore, this OPD is suitable for a family that is interested in woodland life and conservation, while also sharing part of its day to day life with another family and cooperating in meeting subsistence targets while also having their own separate dwelling, businesses and daily routines to attend to.

Besides being a location for a sustainable low-impact home, Coed Talylan has been growing into a small course centre for learning and sharing knowledge about alternative and natural ways of meeting the challenges of the environmental crisis. The courses on carpentry and mushroom cultivation, One Planet Development and renewable energy technology have been running over the past four years. If prospective OPD participants are interested in this aspect of the project they would be welcome to run courses, related to low-impact development, as part of their business activities. A prospective OPD holder must therefore also be prepared to have groups of people come to the woodland and be accommodated in the designated areas for the courses.

The Dwelling

The house design for a second OPD must follow similar design features as for the first house. The design for the low impact zero carbon house was based on several considerations. The access road to the land is national park land and this easement was negotiated with the park based on the dwelling being of temporary nature regulated by the caravan act. This means that the house will have to comply with maximum dimensions of 6.8 m x 20 m single storey and must be built as if it could be disassembled in no more than two pieces. A public foot path above the woodland necessitates a house design that blends in with the land with a mono-pitch and green roof as well as natural cladding. The dwelling must be built at a designated plot as this was already ‘disturbed’ land.  The OPD dwelling design for Plot 1 is an adaptation of an open source OPD design which we are happy to share upon request.  Within the above restrictions the new OPD holders are welcome to adapt their own dwelling design or use and adapt the design for the Plot 1 OPD dwelling.

Infrastructure

In the woodland there is a spring gravity fed throughout the site with good water pressure. The tracks and access ways were built and are now maintained from a small gravel quarry on the land.  An existing steel framed barn that is now a mushroom laboratory and processing unit has further planning permission for workshop extensions, and a 3-unit barn extension. This larger extension is a part of the first OPD planning application which will be a shared space under a cooperative housing agreement. One of these units will be for mushroom growing, one will contain a larger drying facility/dydrator and be used for dry storage, the third unit could include a small micro dairy facility or other food processing/workshop space. There is also permission for a dug-in green house.

The electricity is provided from a solar array on the barn which will be increased with the 3 unit extension. There are two peltum wheel turbines that could be used but would require further investment into the pipe work to provide the requisite flowrate and head. There is also a small wind turbine on the barn. As such, the site is being designed with a “mini-grid” system with shared use of the power input from various sources.

There is a small tractor to use for general woodland work, and a rotavator as well as various other tools and equipment.

Joining the Project

Coed Talylan Land Trust is a community benefit society with agroecological principles at heart. The two OPD schemes are to be managed through an equity stake housing co-operative that will have a long term lease of the land designated for OPD. The land trust is currently benefitting from a single investor but will refinance through a membership share-offer once the second plot holders are found.

As we have already taken the first OPD through planning, all the main planning surveys have been carried out. House drawings and maps are also available for use. Therefore a new planning pre-application can be submitted relatively quickly. It is also worth mentioning, that despite being in the national park, the first OPD was agreed at committee unanimously.

The cost of the Plot is currently placed at £40,000. This would be the minimum equity stake in the Coed Talylan Housing Co-operative.

If you are interested in this opportunity please fill in this Expresion of Interest form:

Coed Talylan: OPD Plot – Expression of Interest

 

We will hold two webinars/online meetings for applicants to ask questions on the following dates:

February 16th: 7pm

February 19th: 11am

 

Looking forward to hearing from you.

James and Sara

Leave a Reply