The Lammas project at Tir y Gafel, Glandwr, Pembrokeshire, is Wales’ first collective initiative based on what is now the (TAN)6 national planning guidance for sustainable rural communities. (One Planet Development).
Planning permissionthe legal basis for being allowed to do some form of development such as building a house. (not to be confused with Building RegulationsThese are the legal regulations which govern how a house is constructed. (not to be confused with Planning Permission which is about whether you are allowed to build the house at all or what it might look like) see Building Regulations) which is all about whether the building is properly constructed). see more on Planning Permission has been granted for nine houses (four of them in a terrace and the others as individual plots), with very strict conditions relating to low ecological impact both in the building and running of the development. The site is set in rolling rural pastoral landscape with some woodland
Formed within a wider co-operative support network, and with the aim of encouraging this type of living elsewhere, the principles of PermaculturePermaculture is the practice of a sustainable way of living in all its forms. In the UK the coordinating body is the Permaculture Association are central to the development.
It is still early days (July 11) and the residents have been busy mainly with establishing the permaculture gardens, orchards, woodland, polytunnels etc. and building barns to keep tools and produce, so there is not much to see yet in the way of houses. However the construction methods so far have been mainly based on roundwood timber frames with lime rendered straw bale infill. Mostly turf roofs.
Andy and Jane, with help from volunteers are just completing their barn. Their target was to source all their materials for it within a five mile radius and this they have pretty much achieved.
As straw was not available close by at the time, they went for hay bales instead. (Andy says hay bales are considerably more difficult to work with than straw).
Their food production is going well. This is a small part of it.
Some of the buildings are using reciprocating roof trusses made of roundwood felled and harvested from the woodland on the edge of the site. The poles overlap and support each other so no centre post is required. Designed in the right way, it is possible to leave the centre empty and have a lantern there so that daylight is available in the middle of the room. The barn that Cassie and Nigel are building has this type of roof and they have recently been lime plastering the inside of the straw bale walls and the ceiling[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - A part of a building which encloses and is exposed overhead in a room, protected shaft or circulation space. (The soffit of a rooflight is included as part of the surface of the ceiling, but not the frame. An upstand below a rooflight would be considered as a wall.).
Lime plastering. Outside, the roof is turf.
Along with growing food they are also busy with forming a natural swimming pool. It’s pretty much full time work at the moment though Cassy does also run a business around the creation of willow and play structures for schools, communities and gardens
Catherine and Leander have nearly finished their barn.
The dark green membrane below the floor is to prevent radon gas (natural to the area) from entering the building.
Kit and Saara have just got started on their foundations and base wall which will probably be carrying straw bale walls
They are the family who have made the most use of mechanised equipment. They are not averse to using a digger when the need arises. Otherwise people are using mainly hand tools.
The whole development will potentially have access to a considerable source of renewable energy eventually. There is an existing but out-of-use hydro electric generating setup running off a river nearby and it may be capable of nearly 30kW of output when the turbine and generator are restored. Still, you get the sense, talking to people, that there is a reluctance to go down the road of relying on large amounts of generated energy.
Jasmine and Simon have also built a roof with a reciprocating truss and this building also benefits from a long conservatory used for growing food.
Other plots are less advanced. Here’s a nice roundwood structure going up
Jude is a relative newcomer to Lammas and here is her poly tunnel frame ready for skinning.
Central to the whole development is the communal building known as The Hub. This was built with the help of a DECCthe government Department of Energy and Climate Change Award and is nearing completion.
See also the Lammas web site.