Swn y Nant: First Approval for a ‘One Planet’ Venture in Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire’s first ‘One Planet Development’, approved just before Christmas, is a four-hectare (10 acre) smallholding near Hebron, Whitland, on the former Hebron Farm. Salena Walker and Christopher Richards will build a a timber workshop and also a moveable log cabin of local timber, not larger than a caravan.
Their aims are to be as self-sufficient as possible, to be independent of mains services, to improve local biodiversity and to develop sustainable income streams to fund the expected small financial costs of living on the site.
As well as the log cabin and workshop, the smallholding – called Swn y Nant — will have a polytunnel, a compost toilet, field shelter, and small temporary structures as required, such as a poultry house.
Salena told Carmarthenshire’s planning department that “Our goal is to develop a smallholding where we can create an income through a sustainable, land-based business and build an affordable home that enables us to settle in the countryside. The development will be based on organic practices, improving and maintaining a high level of biodiversity, along with the view to achieving self-sufficiency.”
She added: “The development will have a large vegetable garden and forest garden, which will supply a vast proportion of the food and income needs.”
One Planet Development is a policy of the Welsh Government, intended to bring new life to the countryside in an ultra-low-impact way.
Richard Jones, the planning officer who dealt with the application, gave 11 reasons for granting planning permission, including the low and reducing ecological footprint, and the absence of adverse effects on the natural environment and the historic landscape.
Salena and Christopher have to keep to a binding management plan, which is reviewed regularly and updated every five years.
There were no objections to the application, and so planning officers dealt with it under their delegated powers. A similar application, from Dr Erica Thompson for a One Planet Development eco-hamlet at Rhiw Las near Llanboidy, was turned down last year by councillors on the planning committee, against the recommendation of planning officers, after objections had been received.
Salena Walker’s application is W/32825.
Erica Thompson’s application is W/31160