[permaculture] Fw: [PermacultureUK] - Turners' Field

Graham Burnett grahamburnett at blueyonder.co.uk
Mon Mar 10 04:00:43 EST 2003

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ann Morgan" <annmorgan at ukf.net>
To: <grahamburnett at blueyonder.co.uk>
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 6:14 PM
Subject: [PermacultureUK] - Turners' Field

> ---------------------
> PermacultureUK - The views expressed on this list are not necessarily 
> those of the Permaculture Assoc. (Britain) 
> http://www.permaculture.org.uk
> ---------------------
> Greetings from Turners' Field,
> The article by Chris Stone, copied below, was published entitled "Sowing
> Seeds" in the Big Issue at the end of January.
> We are sending it to all people on our addressbook who we think may be
> interested in keeping up with this years' Turners' Field process.
> Following the High Court hearing on November 21st last, when Mr Justice
> Sullivan dismissed our appeal against enforcement, we are formulating
> plans for the next eight months until the notice becomes active, and
> beyond into the next Turners' Field cycle.
> Please let us know if you do not want to be kept up to date with news
> plans as they unfold; otherwise we will continue to send items of
> interest for you to pass on, offer support and make suggestions.
> It's still a beautiful world and spring is coming fast, the hens are
> laying, the garden is being planted, the last hedge work is being
> accomplished and all is well.
> You are welcome to visit and participate in whatever way you feel moved
> to talk to us about.
> Best wishes from all of us.
> Who do the planning laws serve?
> If you require planning permission for a new out-of-town hypermarket,
> say, for commercial development, or for luxury housing for the super
> rich, chances are that you will get it. If you have the right face, that
> is. If you can show that there are profits to be made. If you have the
> backing of the banks and the bureaucrats in the planning office. If you
> know the right people. If, however, your proposal is for an experiment
> in sustainable living, for Permacultural activity, or for low-impact
> housing in the Green Belt, then your chances of acquiring planning
> permission are much less likely to succeed.
> Such, at least, is the experience of Ann Morgan, the 61 year old
> grandmother and social theoretician behind the Turner's Field
> Permaculture project in the picturesque village of Compton Dundon in the
> heart of rural Somerset. After 16 years of experimentation in the arts
> and sciences of Permaculture, the project is now under threat: 16 years
> in which the land has been transformed from a ploughed field into a
> thriving, sustainable ecosystem, abundant not only in natural produce,
> but in beauty, in grace, in social transformation; where hundreds of
> trees have been planted, along with numerous shrubs and hedges and food
> plants; where thousands of people have met and worked and lived their
> dreams; where nature is nurtured and trained into architecture; where
> human beings and wildlife co-exist in the same landscape; where hope for
> a sustainable future for humankind has been maintained against all the
> odds.
> But first of all, perhaps, we need to define our terms. What is
> "Permaculture"?
> According to Bill Mollison, the man who first coined the word back in
> the 1970s: "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than
> against nature."
> And again: "Permaculture is the study of the design of those sustainable
> or enduring systems that support human society, both agricultural and
> intellectual, traditional and scientific, architectural, financial and
> legal. It is the study of integrated systems, for the purpose of better
> design and application of such systems."
> In other words, Permaculture is a way of living in harmony with the
> natural world. It is inclusive, not exclusive, of human beings. For
> Permaculture to work human beings need to be harmonised into the system.
> It is NOT a form of farm production. Nor is it about self-sufficiency
> alone, although self-sufficiency might be a desirable outcome. It is
> less a form of agriculture, more a way of life.
> And it is here, precisely, that Ann Morgan's optimistic proposals fell
> foul of the planning system. Because, though having been granted
> temporary permission to live on the land for parts of the time, she has
> been unable to demonstrate any "proven need" for the educational
> facilities she still hopes to build there. The temporary permission has
> since been withdrawn and an enforcement order served for the removal of
> the dilapidated mobile homes that have served as shelter, and which have
> also been used for exactly these educational purposes.
> The term "proven need" is a planning term. It requires measurement. But
> how do you measure the future?
> Meeting Ann Morgan is like coming face-to-face with a force of nature.
> There is a formidable commitment there. She seethes with passionate
> intensity, more like the bursting out of a geyser than the stillness of
> a well. It is this same intensity that has maintained her verve in this
> on-going saga of bureaucratic absurdity for sixteen long years.
> "The planning laws are a huge problem," she says. "They need
> challenging. They are blighting the organic, passionate,
> self-responsible, totally essential evolution of the human race towards
> sustainability."
> Indeed, she has run workshops at Turner's Field, and written a pamphlet
> entitled "Challenging the Planning Laws with Courage." It is one of the
> reasons South Somerset District Council cited when they refused her
> planning application.
> As Andrew Cato, Area Planning Manager for the district, said, "she
> hasn't shown a proven need for the facilities. This has nothing to do
> with Permaculture. There is no need for anyone to live on site. The land
> doesn't require buildings. People can live off site and other buildings
> are available for educational purposes."
> In reply, Ann said: "This has everything to do with Permaculture.
> Permaculture is to do with integration of people with the landscape.
> What has been achieved here is precisely because people have been living
> on the land in a sustainable way in such a magical atmosphere.
> Permaculture is a continuous experience of loving the environment... and
> ourselves as part of that."
> Even Andrew Cato admits that the loss of the site would be "a crying
> shame".
> We described the village as "picturesque". Indeed, Compton Dundon is
> precisely that kind of rural idyll that city folk dream of, and - not
> entirely coincidentally - are willing to pay a lot of money for. One
> wonders if this might not be a part of the problem? And, as if to prove
> the point, one of the objectors, Robert Wright, was quoted in the  Fosse
> Way Magazine as saying, "that Ms Morgan would become a millionaire if
> 'given what she wanted', as residential land in such a village was worth
> far more than agricultural land."
> Another neighbour was asked to pay a visit, to share his perspective to
> the project. He did so, in no uncertain terms, while the young students
> explained their case.
> "We may not have much money," one of them said, "but we have each other.
> We are a network of people growing all the time."
> "Yes, that's just what we are afraid of," said the neighbour, in a rare
> display of candour.
> As for ideals: these can be summarised by a story Ann told, of a little
> six year old boy called Charlie.
> He woke up one morning dreaming of a bed of beans planted in a spiral
> formation. So, of course, the whole of that day was spent in creating
> just such a garden.
> "That dream was fulfilled in a day," said Ann. "How do you present that
> as a planning application?"
> --- PermacultureUK
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