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Friday, 10 February 2017

Supporting sustainable local food production in Branscombe >>> planning applications

What's the state of small, independent, family organic farms in Devon?
Futures Forum: 'A Farm For the Future'

There is a lot of brutal competition:
Futures Forum: 'Mega farms'... for Devon...?

It's all about 'local' production:
Futures Forum: Why buy local?

Which is what is being pushed in Romania:
Futures Forum: "Law on the Sale of Food Products" >>> every large supermarket in the country must ensure that 51% of the fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, dairy products and baked goods they stock are "locally sourced"

Meanwhile, an organic farm in Branscombe has two planning applications pending:
16/2964/FUL | Retention of temporary agricultural worker's dwelling, temporary farm office and storage container | Alderwood Barn Branscombe Seaton EX12 3BU

And:
17/0025/FUL | Erection of 3 no. polytunnels and associated works (revisions to siting approved under application 15/0275/FUL) - partially retrospective | Alderwood Barn Branscombe Seaton EX12 3BU

For the second application, the local council have shown their unanimous support:

Parish/Town Council

Comment Date: Fri 27 Jan 2017

At Branscombe Parish Council meeting held on 26th January 2017, after a full discussion on the above application, members agreed to support the application with no further comments.


Out of the 13 comments received, only two members of the public have objected:
17/0025/FUL | Erection of 3 no. polytunnels and associated works (revisions to siting approved under application 15/0275/FUL) - partially retrospective | Alderwood Barn Branscombe Seaton EX12 3BU

It is not too late to provide comment on the 17/0025/FUL application.

This was received recently from the applicants:

Dear Vision for Sidmouth

My partner and I run an organic farm in Branscombe, and have done so for the last 14 years, producing grass-fed red ruby devon beef and lamb, and grow vegetables, mainly salad crops that we supply locally, to individuals, shops and restaurants.  

Last year we were forced to leave our farmhouse as this was rented through our family but when my parents-in-law (now in their 80s) wanted to sell up and retire, we had no option to buy this property due to its large size.  We however managed to retain most of the land and have carried on farming and growing and want to expand the business slightly. 

We farm within all the highest stewardship agreements and care deeply about the sensitive environment and landscape in Branscombe, to help manage the land for visitors and residents alike.

We have put in two planning applications, one to retain two temporary caravans (one which we use as an agricultural worker's dwelling for ourselves and our two children) and one which is used as a farm office and store, and rest facility, with a view to replace them eventually with an eco home. We have also submitted a second application for three polytunnels which we previously had permission for but have had to reposition slightly due to the lie of the land, hence a new planning application.  

The consultation period ends on the 9th Feb, and we need everyone's support! We are in talks with other local producers (such as Bulstone Springs Farm also in Branscombe) about setting up a local food co-op/ delivery network possibly with a zero emissions vehicle.  The reference numbers for our applications are: 16/2964/FUL and 17/0025/FUL.  

Here are some bullet points for people who don't have the time to read all the planning documents such as the agricultural appraisal and design and access statement:

 • We have been farming here in Branscombe with our family for 14 years.
 • We produce fresh, local, natural food (grass-fed beef, lamb, vegetables, salads, eggs and fruit) in a sustainable way, for residents and visitors alike, who are attracted to the area for its distinctive natural beauty and food culture, which we contribute to by supplying local shops and restaurants
 • We manage the landscape and the environment with nature conservation in mind to the highest possible standards.
 • We are involved in setting up a local food producer network, to help build a strong and vibrant rural economy, and food security during a time of increasing political and environmental uncertainty.
 • It is essential for us to live on our holding to provide constant care for our livestock, closely monitor and attend to our poly-tunnels, and build up the business again from when it was partly moved from Gay's Farm, where we used to live, approximately 200 metres from our current site.
 • Living off site is impossible and would mean the closure of a sustainable and profitable local food business.
 • Our new holding base will enable us to further expand and diversify our business, our growing season and what we can offer to the local community.
 • The temporary caravans will eventually be replaced by a single, permanent low-impact eco-home, subject to planning permission.

Many thanks in advance, we need everyone's support for local food security!
Please feel to forward to anybody who might be interested.  Feel free to get in touch if you need further information.

Jenny Lonnberg & Ian Crowe
Alderwood Barn
Branscombe

EX12 3BU


It is not too late to provide comment on the 17/0025/FUL application:
17/0025/FUL | Erection of 3 no. polytunnels and associated works (revisions to siting approved under application 15/0275/FUL) - partially retrospective | Alderwood Barn Branscombe Seaton EX12 3BU
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