UPDATE: Unfortunately the purchase of the land fell through. A smaller version of the project is continuing and you can read more about it on their facebook page. Below are the original details on the project in case anyone still finds this a useful reference for ideas or contacts.
Below is some of the key information shared on their Facebook group which you can join here.
THE EDIBLE FOREST – INFORMATION
500 Acres of Land Between Rhigos and Blaengwrach. With good road access at both ends.
The land will be owned by –
THE EDIBLE FOREST C.I.C.
Private Limited by Guarantee (not-for-profit)
Registered Company number: 12195007There are currently 6 directors within the C.I.C. and this is likely to increase as the project develops further.THE EDIBLE FOREST C.I.C.
Wade William Heames – Managing Director
Huw Richards – Director of all food growing activities.
David Carpenter – Director of Building Works.
Tom Skipworth – Director of Finance.
Rosie Maunder – Director of the Forest (haven’t added yet)
Elia De Matteis – Director of the Forest
Darren Lewis – Director of the Forest School
These private plots will be leased from THE EDIBLE FOREST C.I.C.. Plot holders will be people wanting to live a Vegan lifestyle, creating minimal waste and who are committed to following the One Planet Development policy (self-sufficient). The lease for the private plots will be on a 999 year Leasehold with a fixed £0 rental (legally we may have to make this £1 – will know answer to this shortly). Any costs for the community will be a shared cost amongst all plot holders.There are currently 3 plot sizes –
2 acres (£20k)
1 acre (£15k)
400m2 (£5k).The plots which are under 2 acres in size will have additional land allocated to them by the management (to make it up to 2 acres) and with approval of their OPD Business use. This additional land may not be directly next to the personal plot. It will be on a 5 year lease to be reconsidered every 5 years with the progression of the Management Plan. OPD Management Plans are reviewed every 5 years.
The proposed village will have a Charter & Lease Agreement ensuring that it remains a Vegan Ecovillage.Any big decisions for the community will be voted on and then approved by the management team, In line with the Community Interest Company Articles of Association.
Project Involvement / Volunteering
We welcome involvement from anyone who wants to get involved.There will be daily volunteer events run by Wade William Heames.Huw Richards of Huw Richards Nursery is planning to run various market garden courses.Ian Sturrock from North Wales tree nursery is planning to run some tree grafting courses.We hope to add significantly to this list in time to come.
Present condition & past history of the land
The land was previously an Opencast Coal Mine. It was the 2nd deepest hole in the whole of Europe, over 250m’s deep. The site has had around £80m spent on a professional restoration (with full soil sampling and environmental monitoring) and which is about to be completed.
The land is now looking like farmers fields with around 0.5-0.8m’s of top soil forming material. Below that is crushed stone material over 250m’s deep, 440 tonne trucks were continuously driving over this compacting it (imagine house foundations over 250m’s deep).
Our Proposed Plan
400 Acre Edible Forest
40 Acre Market Garden supplying organic produce to 7 surrounding villages & businesses.
Forest School – 2 Grade II Listed buildings to be refurbished.
One Planet Development Ecovillage application (detailing individual plots & occupants).
Likely timescale for productive usable horticultural land and foraging capacity
Basic description of One Planet Development Criteria
Wales is the only Country with the One Planet Development Planning Policy. All of Wales has Outline Planning Approval for One Planet Developments.
Once you have planning approval (we are applying after 3 years preparations) you will have 5 Years to meet certain criteria.
Declare this will be your sole residence.
Produce 65% of your own food.
Energy & Water Management
Create Land Based Business, income around £90 / week (to cover basic needs clothes, tax, IT, communications etc)
Develop Zero Carbon Home (doesn’t have to be built within the 5 years, you may live in a Tipi or Caravan until you build one).
Cut down on your Travels.
Some people seem to be a little confused as to what and who the group One Planet Council are.
The One Planet Council are a group of people interested in promoting One Planet Developments. They provide training and advice on the topic but they are not part of the planning process.
When we make an application for the One Planet Development Ecovillage (3 years after land purchase) this will be dealt with by the Local Planning Authority. The very same planning officers who deal with normal house extensions. The planning officer will have to follow the One Planet Developments planning policy when assessing the application.