You may be interested to know about the planning history of Vallis Veg, though we can’t imagine why…
Since buying the site in 2003, we’ve applied to Mendip District Council for planning permission to construct various agricultural buildings and infrastructure, applications which were all (eventually) granted. However, it became increasingly clear to us that it would be impossible to run a successful market garden long-term without actually living on the site ourselves. The demands of crop care, livestock care, pest management, weather management and running courses and events are simply too onerous to be sustained from offsite on a low impact mixed commercial holding. If you don’t believe us, try it for yourself! So in 2012 we applied to Mendip for a temporary agricultural dwelling (application 2012/0939 ). Mendip (eventually) refused this application – we appealed against their refusal and won our appeal, receiving planning permission for a temporary agricultural dwelling for 3 years. We moved on to the site in 2014. Our application received an enormous amount of support from the local community in Frome, and from small-scale farmers elsewhere in the country, and we’re really grateful to everyone who pitched in for us.
We’re hoping that with the temporary residential permission under our belt we can now really make the business thrive over the next few years, and then gain permanent permission to secure Vallis Veg’s long-term future.
In our experience and that of other small-scale growers we know, the planning system is a major impediment to the development of a more sustainable local agriculture. We’re glad to be associated with organisations like the Land Workers’ Alliance that are campaigning for an improved planning system for small-scale farmers, and for the excellent work of Chapter 7 and The Land Magazine which is immensely helpful for small-scale growers like us.