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Housing Projects and Future Development

 

Plaw Hatch Farm Housing Appeal

Last winter, the home of one of Plaw Hatch Farm’s farming families was badly damaged in a fire. It happened one night when they dashed out with a poorly baby to find medicine and a curtain caught fire against a lamp. Despite the swift action of the local fire brigade there was considerable damage, especially due to smoke, and it was left uninhabitable. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The farm now needs to rebuild. Although the property was insured, the type of structure (former mobile home which had been extended) meant a very low valuation and the amount from the insurers will not cover the cost, however modest the replacement. The farm has been fortunate to find a prefabricated home which was constructed as a farmer’s house and has now got planning permission to erect it at Plaw Hatch. The insurance money came to £37,000 but the farm now needs to raise £75,000 to do all the necessary work to finish the house.

Why is this so important?

If we want to train more young and enthusiastic farmers, we need to house properly those who want to make the commitment to biodynamic farming. To do this, we need to give them a decent home where they can raise a family and give them a reason to stay. Unlike many conventional farms, where the current average age of a farmer in the UK is around 60 years, Plaw Hatch and Tablehurst farms are attracting young farmers who want to start families, who want to work and be a part of a better way of farming. The demand for good, honest, local food is growing and biodynamic farms, open to visitors at all times and with the highest animal welfare standards are part of the way forward. If we can encourage more people into farming by creating homes and futures for them, then there is hope that farming can change, for the benefit of all of us.

If you would like to know more, donate or feel you can assist in raising funds, please contact any of the following people:

Jenny Wright – jenny@plawhatchfarm.co.uk  M. 07894 515748

Rebecca Heys – rebecca@plawhatchfarm.co.uk  T. 01342 810652

Oliver Fynes-Clinton – saintanthonystrust@gmail.com  M. 07904 095175

 

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The Pixton 3rd Age Project

Within the Forest Row area, in recent years there has been a clear need expressed for some form of 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 residential accommodation, which we are calling the Pixton Third Age Project (P3A). 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 Living and Learning community.

The intention is to provide around seventeen apartments for older people within Grade II-listed Pixton House.  Pixton will not be a care home but a “co-housing” scheme with an emphasis on residents as individuals leading autonomous lives within a supportive community, while having access to all of the cultural facilities at Emerson College. We are also actively pursuing the possibility of providing an anthroposophically-trained care team, whose services could be called on by residents in need of physical care.

Even at this early stage, several people (individuals and couples) have expressed an interest in coming to live at Pixton. An architect, project manager, quantity surveyor and planning consultant have been appointed to take us to the point where a planning application can be submitted to Wealden District Council. We anticipate that apartments should be ready for occupation by late 2021, and in October 2018 we held the first of several meetings in which we brought together prospective residents with the architect and project group in order to discuss the design and accommodation details that will best meet the needs of older people.

The Architectural Heritage Fund has made us a grant offer of £19,000, provided that we can match-fund (ie raise £19,000) ourselves. To date, we have now raised the matching funds through some generous gifts from supporters and are now proceeding with the “pre-app” (pre-planning application) phase. Our next stage will be to put in a full planning application, which will require detailed architectural designs, site surveys, environmental impact assessments etc. The estimated cost for all of this will be in the region of £100,000.

How to get involved

If you would like to know more about P3A, or can help in any way, please get in touch. If you are able to offer financial assistance towards the cost of the planning application, then we would be very pleased to hear from you.  Gifts can be made through St Anthony’s Trust using the “Donate” button below. If you are a UK resident, please consider filling in Gift Aid details to increase the value of your donation at no extra cost.

If you have further queries or would like to register interest in living at Pixton, please email Jeremy Smith at jeremy.smith@emerson.org.uk.

 

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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.