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Housing Projects and Future Development

The Pixton 3rd Age Project

Within the Forest Row area, in recent years there has been a clear need expressed for some form of sheltered accommodation for older people which can offer more than just a basic room and a communal lounge where the TV is never switched off. St Anthony’s Trust, together with the Anthroposophical Society in Sussex and Emerson College have formed a project group to look at the possibility of converting Pixton House at Emerson College into a different kind of sheltered residential accommodation, which we are calling the Pixton Third Age Project. The aim is to offer older people not only attractive small flats for independent living but also access to all the cultural facilities and beautiful grounds of the college – and with the added bonus of being part of the Emerson community.

This project is at an early stage but already we are envisaging the possibility of 10-12 units with a warden and a call system, with a range of optional services such as cleaning, laundry and meals.

The next stage for the project group is to undertake two studies: one is to prepare pre-application plans and drawings to go the Wealden DC planners; the second is to prepare the business case for the purchase, conversion and ongoing maintenance of Pixton as sheltered accommodation. To do this we need to raise around £4k to cover the associated costs of these studies. £2k has already been raised and the architectural study for conversion of the building has been commissioned.

The project group would like to hear from anyone who:

a) would be interested in living in sheltered accommodation at Pixton

b) has professional expertise to offer in terms of project management, care management , fundraising or business development and who would be willing to help bring the project to fruition

c) would like to contribute towards establishing a seed fund for the ongoing viability studies

Please contact Eva Davies: E.; T. 01342 823905; M. 07752 402959



A Straw Bale home for Peter Brown

St Anthony’s Trust is supporting Tablehurst Farm in its project to provide a home for the retirement of farmer Peter Brown, to thank him for his 21 years of devoted service and hard work on behalf of biodynamic community-owned farming in Forest Row.

Nicolas Pople/Architect

Architectural drawings by courtesy of Nicolas Pople Architects.

Peter Brown and Tablehurst Farm

Tablehurst Farm as it is today wouldn’t exist without the dedicated work of Peter Brown. Peter and his late wife Brigitte arrived at the farm in 1994 with their three children. Totally committed to biodynamic and sustainable agriculture and with the strong sense that Tablehurst needed to be a community farm in the fullest sense of the word, Tablehurst Farm has become:

  • a farm dedicated to the wellbeing of the land, plants, animals and people
  • a source of wholesome and delicious food for the local community
  • a place where young farmers and growers want to learn, work and live and which provides employment for 25 people
  • a popular meeting place for local people, with its own shop and café and weekend pizzas and barbecues
  • a farm which includes a care home for three adults with learning disabilities
  • a community-owned biodynamic/organic farm safeguarded for generations to come

Peter has always put the farm and our community first and has never had an opportunity to build up assets of his own. Over the years he has had to move home several times into different farm properties, as younger farm workers have started families and have needed his accommodation. Now that Peter has just had major heart surgery, the time has come to thank him for his devoted efforts on behalf of biodynamic community-owned farming in Forest Row by providing him with a home for his retirement on the farmland that he has cared for so well.

This new eco-house built from straw bales will be Peter’s home for as long as he wishes, which will also help to ensure that his expertise and experience are retained at Tablehurst and within the biodynamic movement for many years to come. To achieve this, we have already raised £50k with help from the community, and now we want to finish the job by raising the second half of the £100k target total so that building can begin by Summer 2017.

The straw bale house

The home we will build for Peter is for him to live in for the rest of his life. It will be a modest, one-storey house with two bedrooms, with a lovely view over the Tablehurst millpond. Like all the other land and buildings, it will be owned by St Anthony’s Trust, and will eventually be available to house other farm workers.

The house will be of straw bale construction, a green and eco-friendly way of building that is very well insulated, cool in summer and warm in winter. Straw bale houses are also long-lasting – the oldest one in existence was built 140 years ago and is still in excellent condition.

We’re halfway there – please help us to finish the job!

Thanks to the generous and open-hearted response of the local community, we have already raised £50k, half of our target total of £100k.. Please help us to finish the job and provide Peter Brown with a home so we can properly thank him for everything he has done for Tablehurst and biodynamic farming.

Your donations for this project will come through St Anthony’s Trust, which as a charity is able to claim Gift Aid from HMRC. This won’t cost you an extra penny but will, if you are a taxpayer, make a significant addition to your gift. Please contact our administrator if you would like to donate or leave your gift at the Tablehurst Farm Shop. Cheques should be made payable to St Anthony’s Trust.

Building will begin as soon as we have raised £80k. The total cost of building the straw bale house is estimated at this stage to be around £80k – the remaining £20k of our £100k target will go towards improving some of the other housing on the farm for the benefit of those farmers who are starting families, as will any monies raised over and above the appeal target.



Future Possibilities

Land Trust

We are currently exploring the possibility of placing St Anthony’s assets into a land trust to make the land farmed by Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch even more inviolable for the future.

Work with Emerson College

We are working with the college to ensure that biodynamic education and training develops into the future. This might include a Learning on the Land initiative for school children (currently on hold owing to funding restrictions) and a project for bee guardianship.