Getting it Built

Getting it Built

‘Save the date’ Event – Ely (Norfolk) 9th December 2013.

The UK Government has allocated circa £16Million for Community Land Trusts, (CLTs), for sustainable community living projects – to cover ‘The Land’ with a protective blanket cover, protecting ‘The Land’ for the benefit and use of the community, and providing protection through the terms of the Community Land Trust, ensuring that affordable (eco) homes provided on ‘The Land’ are retained as ‘affordable housing’ in perpetuity.

Previous ‘affordable housing’ (i.e. provided by the Local Authorities themselves), was subsequently sold-off, allowing people who had previously purchased the (previously) affordable homes, to make profits on the resales).

Over the years, the sell-off of affordable housing stock, has earned previous owners profits – but it lost the Council’s money in the long term, (because they are currently having to pay housing benefits to everyone currently living in unaffordable and unsustainable housing).

Across the UK, CoHousing Communities and Co-Op Housing Groups, have formed and built exemplars of sustainable community living projects that can easily be replicated, (and which were designed to be replicated).

Many of the previously formed exemplars of ‘sustainable community living projects’, are also classified as Eco-Village (type) low-carbon and ‘showcase’ communities, (many also forming the UK and North Wales Eco-Village Networks).

The ‘Getting it Built’ event held within Cathedral grounds in Ely, shared information on how communities can apply for the £17Million UK Government Fund allocated for CLTs, (and I will share the links for this in a subsequent report).

I didn’t arrive at the venue until lectures broke for lunch, and had intended to just grab as much information as I could, before heading back to Hindolveston.

As it was, I grabbed a copy of each pile of literature provided on the conference table, and headed back downstairs for a cigarette, while I thought about whether to ask if I could stay for the afternoon sessions.

As I stood outside, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation of the two gentlemen who were talking by the doorway.

One was saying to the other that they were surprised by the low-uptake of applications for sustainable community living projects, (and CLTs).

I felt I had to interject – having already myself personally had experience of this problem.

Luckily, the two men didn’t seem to mind my interruption – and I explained that the reason why few people were living in sustainable community living projects (i.e. Eco-Villages), was because of the problems associated with finding the ‘Community’ land upon which the community itself could live.

It transpired that I was talking to ‘The Barefoot Entrepreneur’ and a representative of the Rural Community Council, (the RCC at Dereham in fact), to whom I explained my previous encounters and meetings with a RCC officer, who expected me to find ‘The Land’, and then he’d help me to form the proposals.

As I explained to the gentleman from the RCC, as a Group Moderator at the UK Eco-Village Network, and an Ambassador for Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) in Zambia, with over twenty years experience in the field of architectural design and dealings with Local Authorities in the submission of Planning Applications and applications for Building Regulations approvals, I really didn’t need any help organising the Planning Applications.

I explained that what I really needed, was ‘The Land’ upon which I could form the proposals for a showcase Eco-Village – inspired by CAT Eco-Village, (I explained that my ex-lecturer at The College of West Anglia – just up the A10 from Ely – had warned of the effects of this recession in 2002, not long before he suggested students look at CAT Eco-Village online for inspiration on how to design and build sustainably – and that my ex-lecturer had wanted to partner The College of West Anglia to teach Sustainable Construction and units in Environmental Sustainability – so we intended to be a showcase Eco-Village, providing Norfolk and East Anglia with our own (unique) version of a showcase Eco-Village, (partnered with the local college), to teach people how to design and build their own affordable eco-homes and eco-villages.

The Barefoot Entrepreneur jumped when I mentioned the immortal words ‘Eco Villages’ – and said he would be happy to hear me talk about them all day!! 🙂

He asked me to keep in touch – and it was only when I later opened up the introduction card he passed to me on leaving, that I realised who he was, and the importance of our meeting.

(To be continued.)

I’m afraid that I have to write two introduction pieces – I need to explain the aims of my social enterprises, ‘Global Ark Projects’ (GAP) – seeded by the Tree Ark Project (TAP) intentional (showcase) Eco-Village.

N.B. As we couldn’t get hold of any land – my children and I invested circa £40k of the £45k family legacy we inherited in 2011, in the vehicles needed for us to broadcast the work of the UK Eco-Village Network, the North Wales Eco-Village Network, the Permaculture Organisation, the UK CoHousing Network, Co-Op Housing Groups, Grassroots, Radical Routes, Tony Gosling, Simon Fairlie, Chapter 7/TLIO, Diggers 350, Diggers and Dreamers, WWOOF, Transition Towns, Ivy Farm In Transition, ‘The Global Village Construction Set’ of Open Source Ecology, (OSE), and other nonprofit solutions – including all 80,000 (plus) at Wiser (Earth) organisation, – whom we aimed to help float, by the launch of Global Ark Projects.

(Please also refer to article following this, detailing the proposals for the adaptation of the classic decommissioned Fire Brigade exhibition lorry – purchased for broadcasting, via {Mobile} Rural Broadband.)


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