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[prepared for the 2000 application for a low impact dwelling for a permaculture (sustainable) holding]

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Application Reference Number: NP5/60/7G





Dear Mr. Jones,

We would be grateful if the following could be considered in regard to the functional test for the above application. Figures for earned income have been accepted by the Inland Revenue and need not be treated as confidential. Further written confirmation of projected income can be obtained from our financial adviser if required.


Tir Penrhos Isaf has been designed and implemented as a diversified system (a poly-culture as opposed to a monoculture) encouraging the operation of several, interrelated and mutually supportive land-based businesses. The operation of these businesses is such that they combine to enhance the environment and ecological resources of the site and community, rather than reduce and degrade them (see previous supporting documents for further details).

After the initial temporary permission and the establishment of a successful teaching practice and design services (see figures submitted with the 1994 application) additional funding was required in order to develop other business aspects. At that stage (1994) business loans were not available due to the temporary nature of the planning permission. Similarly, agricultural subsidies were either too small to be of value or too restrictive and limiting in their nature. Temporary outside work was thus sought in order to generate investment capital and secure a personal loan for materials and equipment.

I was successful in obtaining part-time work at the local tertiary College, Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor. While at the Coleg I was also able to study for and complete additional teaching qualifications, notably the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (education and training) and the TDLB D33 Assessor award, both of which have allowed us to raise the profile and quality of the educational courses we run at Tir Penrhos Isaf.

Unfortunately, severe illness in the form of cancer radically disrupted our lives and plans during the period 1996-1999. In this sense we fell prey to the challenges that face all one- or two-person businesses. Although Lyn has recovered fully from the cancer and subsequent operations and treatments, one of the unforseen consequences of protracted illness is debt. It was necessary for us to continue to rely on my part time, outside work in order to clear these debts. As a consequence, less time was available at Penrhos for me to maintain and develop my business systems there.

Lyn, on the other hand, successfully completed her Monty Roberts’ Preliminary Certificate in Horsemanship and is now a Recommended Associate of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association, one of only twenty in Britain. Her high standing in her field has allowed her to develop a significant reputation and attract clients’ horses for training from places as far afield as Stafford, Runcorn, Haverfordwest and Bridgenorth as well as more locally, from Aberystwyth, Bala, Dolgellau and Hermon.

As mentioned in previous applications (1994) the increasing influence of permaculture design in Britain has resulted in a growing number of teachers and courses. This in turn has allowed for more specialist areas and hence courses. For example, due to the nature of Penrhos and the work that has been carried out here since 1986, Permaculture and Wilderness Regeneration has proved a popular, specialist course. Similarly, as we already have clients visiting Penrhos with their horses, Permaculture for Horses courses have provided an additional and lucrative source of income. The keeping of horses can be ecologically expensive (damage to pasture, reliance on chemically grown hard feeds etc) and it has proved logical and successful to move into the field of education for horse owners.

At present the holding is in a strong position. The major developments necessary to make the site financially viable have been made and debts have largely been cleared. The current part time, outside work is no longer required and notice has been given for June 2001 (the end of the current academic year). This will allow for further concentration on the holding.

As we have said previously (1991, 1994, 1999) a Permaculture holding develops a poly-income. These individual incomes will change over time depending on changes in markets, resources and (for example) climate. This is an ongoing and evolving system (like the big world) that is flexible enough to take full advantage of new opportunities. For example, the current situation with regard to grants would strongly favour the establishment of a local tree nursery; we have already run a small tree nursery at Penrhos since 1986 and produced several thousand plants for use on the site and we will consider this as a further income option. Similarly, after consultation with the Local Agenda 21 Officer, it seems likely that money would be available for a series of talks or lectures on Permaculture Design and sustainable development held locally in village halls. This would allow local people to take more advantage of current opportunities.

To conclude, we consider that Tir Penrhos Isaf is a financially viable holding which currently outperforms some larger farms without being dependant on regular external support payments. We consider that the Park should provide whole hearted support for such a venture which is entirely in keeping with the Authorities stated aims with regard to sustainable development.

Yours sincerely,

Chris, Lyn and Sam Dixon

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