Can you help? (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at
Tue Sep 28 11:14:48 EDT 1999

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 02:01:54 +0100
From: Maddy Harland <all at>
Subject: Can you help?

Our centre is under threat from a new right wing council who I suspect
would like to see the project fail so they can gain control of the land
for development. I am asking all my colleagues and contacts, locally and
globally, to surprise the councillors with a short email supporting the
Centre and our presence on the site. Please couuld you read the
following and drop the Leader an email, raising her awareness beyond the
horizon, and putting the Centre on a greater map than mere profit and
loss. We are so nearly self-financing after only 2 years and the Tory
smear campaign, which involves councillors and officers calling up local
contacts and funding organisations with whom we have bids, is destroying
this project. There's a story here, to be sure!



The Sustainability Centre Needs Your Help!

The centre is a unique Permaculture resource in Britain. Set in 55 acres
of woodland by the South Downs Way, it is entirely owned by the
Earthworks Trust, a registered charity. Its mission is to demonstrate,
promote and encourage knowledge, skills and technology to create a more
sustainable world. At its core is permaculture. Maddy and Patrick
Harland are long term voluntary directors. Permanent Publications, the
publishers of Permaculture Magazine, are tenants on the site, its team
are long term volunteers, and support for this project is both local,
national and global. The project has only been open for two years yet
already it is under threat.

Politcial Ill Will
East Hampshire District Council (EHDC), which has been supporting the
EarthWorks Trust, changed hands politically in May, and the
Conservatives now have a small majority (of two). In their election
publicity they attacked the previous Liberal Democrat's administration
over its support for the Sustainability Centre, saying - amongst other
things - that the Lib Dems had "dug a hole in the ground at East Mean
and were throwing council tax payers money into it".

The new Conservative administration set up a "Scrutiny Committee" to
look into the value for money of some of the Lib Dem's spending, and
chose the EarthWorks Trust as the subject of their first investigation.
This committee has met several times and is due to report back to the
full Council in October.

In the mean time, the regular and almost all adverse publicity that the
reporting of the Scrutiny Committee in local papers has done a great
deal of harm to the development of the Centre, which has had a new
manager, Andrew Braithewaite, since May.

Andrew has refocused the work of the Centre, and has been working hard
to get the Centre on its financial feet. The Centre aims to do three

* act as a focus for those wanting to volunteer on practical tasks,
* act as a centre for those wishing to learn about permaculture and
* provide residential accommodation for the previous two, and for
walkers and cyclists, especially those doing the South Downs Way, which
passes the site.

The conversion of an old military barracks on the site into a hostel is
crucial to the Centre moving forward, and the cash to do this is the
subject of a bid being made to one of the Lottery distributors. Without
this accommodation, the Centre cannot do the above three things, and
will not have any significant income, and will not be financially

The danger now is that EHDC might well change its mind, and stop funding
the Centre, forcing it to close, because without this subsidy there will
be no staff to continue the planning, fundraising and running courses
and supporting the Centre's volunteers.

Please Write!
Please help us save this project by writing to Councillor Elizabeth
Cartwright, the Leader of EHDC, and express your dismay at the
Conservative's very public attack of the Centre and its ethos.

To stop funding now, just as the Centre has a chance to be
self-supporting, would be a waste of all the money spent so far. The
Sustainability Centre is a rarity in this country, a great opportunity
to demonstrate permaculture on a large scale, a real asset for the
Council, and it would be a tragedy if such a tremendous opportunity were
to be lost.

Write to: Councillor E.A. Cartwright, The Spinney, Hillbrow, Liss,
Hampshire GU33 7PS.
Email: Elizabeth_Cartwright at

Thank you very much for your support.

Yours sincerely,

Maddy Harland
Editor of Permaculture Magazine
Director of the Earthworks Trust
Permanent Publications,
The Sustainability Centre, East Meon,
Hampshire GU32 1HR, England
all at
Tel:+44(0)1730 823311. Fax:+44(0)1730 823322

The Permaculture Magazine Information Site & The Earth Repair Catalogue

"Permaculture Magazine - sowing seeds for a sustainable future."

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