road protests 1999   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links

From: "SchNEWS" (
To: "SchNEWS Subscribers" (
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 22:26:06 +0000
Subject: SchNEWS 197, Friday 15 January


"We are the stubborn dreamers." - Gerard Winstanley, An original Digger

Tinkers Bubble won an historic victory last week, when they were granted planning permission for their low impact homes. The residents have been living in canvas homes and other low impact dwellings for the past five years, fighting every inch of the way to get planning permission, after having the audacity to want to live on their own land. South Somerset District Council gave the 10 adults and 3 kids a five year trial period to carry on growing vegetables, tending their orchards and feeding their goats.

During the epic struggle, Simon Fairlie, one of the residents, wrote a book, 'Low Impact Development', to help other people pick their way through the UK's complex planning process.

"This is extremely good news and may become a precedent for this kind of sustainable development", said George Monbiot.

The decision dramatically shows the conflict between our archaic planning policy, which makes the building of low impact dwellings largely illegal, and Agenda 21 which states its aim 'to provide access to land for all households...through environmentally sound planning'. Despite all the politicians fine words it seems it's OK for developers to get away with building ugly Wimpey-home sprawl but the idea of environmentalists building sustainable homes...? Well, thats a bit much.

However, opposition in the nearby village of Norton-sub-Handon is high with local residents accusing Bubblers of 'lowering the tone of the village'! A hard-core group of villagers promise to appeal against the decision, and despite the tentative support of Paddy Ashdown, the local Lib Dem councillor, Andy Jacobs, was so outraged that he resigned! Still, SchNEWS has it on good authority that he was going to resign anyway. "This is a foolhardy and dangerous decision," he puffed, "that is likely to open the floodgates for other such projects to be repeated elsewhere ". And so say all of us!


* It is 350 years since the Diggers squatted a piece of barren land at St. George's Hill, Surrey, erecting huts and housing over 100 people. To commemorate this, there will be events from 30 March - 4 April, where people will unite under the banner of Diggers 350 in an attempt to reclaim land and develop long term sustainable communities. For more details of training and educational workshops - The Land Is Ours - tel 01865 722016 or email:

* Brith Dir Mawr in North Wales houses a collection of low impact dwellings. The tipis, strawbale house, roundhouse and geo dome have sat happily nestling in the Valleys for over three years before a National Park Authority helicopter spotted them, and are now the subject of eviction speculation.

* The Natty Trust was set up to promote high standards of sustainable, ecological design and development for the benefit of the public. They have a new office and excellent library of books on sustainability, permaculture appropriate technology and organics. Contact them at Unit 11, Level 5, New England House, New England Street, Brighton BN1 4GH

* Stepping Stones Housing Co-op in Wales have secured funding from Radical Routes to help buy a small farm. They aim to provide social housing in both separate and communal living areas, alongside workers' co-ops which will provide products and services to help pay off the loan. Want to know more? Call Alex Begg on 0870 733 2538

* Low Impact Development - planning and people in a sustainable countryside. £10 from Low Impact, 20 St Michael's Rd Yeovil, Somerset

* Diggers and Dreamers - the guide to communal living '98 - '99, published by Diggers and Dreamers Publications (0-951-4945-4-6)

road protests 1999   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links