TO OUR SUPPORTERS:
Thank you. We could not have done it without you. A couple of low impact developments have already been approved in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park under previous low impact policies and we are forever indebted to these brave pioneers for their courage and commitment, but before yesterday, as many people have successfully applied for a One Planet Development in any Welsh national park as have stood on Mars (0). In fact, there are more people in the world who have stood on the moon (12) than there are successful applications for One Planet Developments (7 applications/11 households as of 20/7/2016) and, having been through the process, I'm inclined to believe that's because the former is an awful lot easier.
I don't really mean that, of course, but I do know that our supporters played a vital role in keeping us going through what has been a brutal challenge. This was our Mount Everest. It got harder and harder the closer we got to the top but with the support of friends, family and fellow One Planet Developers, on the 20th July 2016 we reached the summit. Golwg y Gwenyn is now our home. And no matter what our objectors manage to throw at us from this point forward, they will never be able to take that moment away from us.
(We have no idea how far some (not all) of our objectors went in their efforts to make sure the planning committee voted against us. It's clear some direct lobbying of planning officials went on and, given the rumours that have been spread in Newport, I suspect most of it was pretty unpleasant. Indeed, it may well have been so unpleasant it backfired, but either way, it definitely didn't work and we can confirm that, beyond offering to explain our motives to a committee member who questioned our motives prior to the meeting (this offer wasn't accepted) and a couple of open letters to the entire local community (which can be accessed here and here), we didn't lobby a single member of the local authority. We focused solely on policy and evidence. We also didn't publicise the meeting because we wanted to stand tall and face our most vicious objectors alone. We wanted to show this bitter hate gang that whatever rumours they spread and however evil their behaviour, we will not be intimidated).
Now we've got permission to do what we've said we're going to do we're going to have to do it and that's probably going to involve climbing Everest all over again. We have 5 years from the moment we move on to the site to reach our targets and, despite having done so much already, there is an awful lot more to do (including the small task of building a house). There will be disasters and setbacks along the way, but, with the support of friends, family and, as of the 20th July 2016, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, we will keep going and we will succeed. We will prove that One Planet Developments are worthy of consideration anywhere.
TO OUR OBJECTORS:
We sincerely regret upsetting some of you, particularly those who objected honestly and respectfully. The decision has been made however and we all have to live with it and if any of our objectors want to stop fighting we are more than willing to honour a truce. If, in the interests of the town and community of Newport, you want to accept the result with good grace and dignity and give us a chance to prove ourselves we will happily oblige. The authorities have decided we should be given this chance and though, rather paradoxically, this decision may make our most extreme objectors even more determined to stop us by any means, as has always been the case, and despite all that has gone on, if you stop attacking, we will stop defending.
If you want to keep fighting though, if you want to continue trying to intimidate our family with lies (see below), smears (see below) and legal threats (see below), you're going to have to get an awful lot better at it, because we're defending our home now and we're going to fight back harder than ever before.
It's your choice.
"But, but, he sent round a flyer...and their house will be 3-4 times bigger than average."
Yeah right. Maybe in China.
"I need a bigger holiday home!"
Keith Davies performance at the Newport Town Council meeting was nearly as funny as The Davies' objection letter to the PCNPA, which has to be one of the most remarkable attempts at a counter-argument I have ever seen (although I should point out that Keith did get his way at the Town Council meeting as they decided not to support our one planet development proposal). Please note, Keith Davies claimed to prepare police evidence for court when he came to look round the farm in 2013...
Here are some highlights. First, a sweeping claim about the opinions of everybody in Newport except us:
"Residents of Newport feel passionately about the conservation of and the preservation of Carningli, and are horrified at the changes that are taking place to the natural landscape." (We missed the meeting where Keith Davies was elected Newport spokesperson but it clearly happened because nobody would be stupid enough to speak on behalf of an entire town without such a mandate, would they?)
Followed by a little pointless misinformation:
“Subsequently the applicants bought 3 fields from Ms Gillooley.” (We didn't, but either way, who cares?)
Then some alarmist hypocrisy:
“The construction required for this site and the continuing traffic will be a danger to all pedestrians and animals.” (but the construction required for their new two-storey holiday home extension and the continuing traffic won't be, obviously. They won't actually, but neither will ours.)
Some demented and typically factless wishful thinking
“This action gives the clearest evidence of why the applicants want to build a house on the site, the stupendous view. It has nothing to do with sustainability, sustaining the planet or being carbon neutral, it is about building a home where they would never be allowed to do so, and they are trying to do so by hiding behind the veil of OPD.”
(He has a point here about the sea view actually, because if we're going to become micro farmers (with a part-time job) and give up the right to live as if we had more than one planet (that almost everybody else takes for granted), we want to do it in a beautiful place with a sense of space that only a view of the sea can provide. That doesn't mean the unbiased policeman is right about our commitment to low impact living of course (even though I'm sure spin-master Davies will probably selectively quote-butcher this paragraph to make it seem that way at some point in the future), but we would like to be clear that a view of the sea is important to us on this crowded planet and that we are never going to be ashamed about that. We are prepared to give up our privacy (everything we do will be publicly monitored) and our freedom to be selfish (with the Earth's resources) to live on and work land we already own and no amount of bilious debate vomit is going to change that.)
An open insult to our customers (including some of Newport's businesses):
“...they have chosen to attach 4 letters of support from people they do business with and therefore have a vested interest.” (You can't care about Newport and our eggs apparently. It's one or the other.)
An actually fairly serious allegation of harassment:
“...in November 2015 we started receiving a series of unpleasant and intimidating text messages from Mr Watkinson...needless to say we reported the intimidation to the police.”
Sounds awful doesn't it, so here are the text messages in full for anybody tempted to believe this police service employee who prepares evidence for court (possibly retired):
- TEXT 1 “Hi guys, just thought we better let you know that we've seen your objection letter to sue's application and all the criticisms of us included within. No hard feelings but, obviously, we'd like to politely ask you to stay away from us and our daughter in the future. Good luck with.your hate campaign. Charis and Matthew”
- TEXT 2 “You have our permission to be as mean as you like in response to our planning application by the way, although hugely insulting guesses at our age are probably unnecessary and we'd rather you didn't wander across our land taking pictures in the same way as you've done on sue's. Otherwise go for it!”
- TEXT 3 “Hi keith, forgive me but I think you made your views quite clear in the letter and the lecture you gave us about land ownership a couple of years ago. Again, you are free to these views and we are free to ask you to please leave us alone in future. This is the most sensible solution as it will make it much less awkward for you to oppose us when we submit our planning application. Again, no hard feelings but please leave us alone. Matthew”
- TEXT 4 “One final note: using our photos in a public document without permission is a breach of copyright laws. Please refrain from stealing our images in this way in the future. We are taking advice on what action we can take regarding the existing thefts.”
"My, my, here come the fuzz!"
I think some of our neighbours are confusing the police with the Samaritans, and not just these two melodramatic cry babies.
'But, but, you also went to the police, and you also react very fiercely to your neighbours' behaviour.'
Yes, I did, and yes, I do, but that's because one of them threatened us with an army of vigilante bailiffs (claiming the support of the entire town again - where the hell do these bloody spokesperson elections take place?) and because the others are vigilante planning officers who hide behind bushes (badly) to spy on us, report us to anybody they can think of for doing anything at all and openly seek and threaten ways to cut off our access to the site should we be given lawful planning permission (as well as cleverly coordinating character assassinations and witch hunts).
They get right back on track with subsequent points though, because here's a bit of undisguised racism to further strengthen their impartial and non-hate based campaign:
“The Watkinson's do not hail from Pembrokeshire, nor do they have any family connections to the area...” (I can only assume they do, but you never know with these two clowns.)
And then, my personal favourite, a just plain bonkers attempt at archaeology by satellite photo:
“...there definitely appears to be a number of geometrical shapes with crisp straight lines and corners. These appear reminiscent of building foundations or structures beneath the ground. Really close examination, shows what looks like the outline of individual stones, could the triangle shape be a burial chamber?”
That's right, Keith Davies, a man employed by the police to gather and collate evidence for the British justice system, has decided, based entirely on an armchair analysis of 2 small satellite photos in a second hand document, that our experiments with straw mulch in 2013 are in fact Iron Age building foundations and burial chambers.
In the words of Friedrick Nietzsche:
"No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant."
(Keith, you are making this far too easy at the moment. You need to calm down and focus on facts. You're like a leopard with its testicles caught on barb wire, lashing out at anything you can think of, real or imaginary. I truly welcome your opposition but it's going to have to be of a much higher quality if you're going to stop me enjoying it so much (which I assume is your intention). Don't give up, just stop charging around the issues like a bull with its horns on fire. This is big boy shit, not a squabble in the playground about who's got the most best friends. Talk to your neighbours at Castle Hill if needs be. Like you, they clearly don't understand the planning policy ('food needs not generated on site aren't allowed to be funded by anything off site' (?!) etc. etc.), and they have accepted that they're probably the inspiration, if not the primary source of the "he was struck off" witch hunt rumour, but their objection letters are, quite unexpectedly, actually honestly considered and borderline dignified. They are worthy of a place in the debate if nothing else and we'd rather you stopped embarrassing yourself, your wife and your flock of Newport residents with poisonous fluff and bitter xenophobia and also focused on similarly measured if ultimately sophistic arguments instead. Ditch the piss, vinegar and sexist parenting advice (little girls must go to ballet classes etc. etc.) and start behaving like, well, I don't know, a police officer maybe (you can ditch the spectacularly dodgy area calculations as well). You're treating the planning process like a kangaroo court at the moment (as well as the local debate), but, in case you're not aware, the planning process actually exists to deal with planning applications, not every wild accusation you can possibly think of to make yourself feel like a hero. You may be on to something with the hot tub, rights of access, firewood production, definition of a farm, ineligibility of people accused of being rich professionals, baby cockerels, off-site beehives and tyre permits so focus on those. And the enforcement notice. The enforcement officer verbally informed us that submitting a planning application would be fine and the PCNPA has since confirmed this in writing, but if you think they have done something wrong and that the 'poo with a view' should have already been taken down focus on finding the evidence to prove it.)
One more time:
"I need a bigger holiday home!"
"It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt." - Author disputed
And how could we possibly fail to mention the glorious objection letter from John Harries, chief protector of Carningli Mountain and the world's greatest living man, because we are absolutely delighted to learn that he is also planning his own One Planet Development:
“...I will also submit a similar proposal for dwelling and enterprise in the field adjacent to this site at my proposed Horse View Farm, through the same back door of planning legislation and expect it to be green-lit. I am already in the throes working out where to site the mail box at the entrance to the field to Horse View Farm – establishing a business presence that later can be converted to residential and of calculating cost and retail production prices and horse-drawn delivery costs to customers within a 10 mile radius of Welsh Mountain Premium Horse Manure, for both fertilising local gardens, window boxes and heat source fuel purposes provided by our 5 extremely regular horses that have grazed there in perfect harmony, solitude and rain for the last 15 years. This alongside plans for a turf-roofed horse shelter and large barn for hay and mushroom storage, equine and poultry hard feeds, tools, quad bikes, wellies, lentils, gregorian chant CDs, summer solstice sunrise shots from Carn Ffoi, Hen Galan pics from Bessie's and cocoa, plus summer yurt spillover holiday accomodation from Penfeidr Newydd, possibly polytunnels for Martha Morgan magical organic mushrooms, oven-ready Carn Cwn christmas turkeys (after consultation with Paul the butcher about selling them from a stall outside his shop on the Monday market) plus free-range chicken, duck, grouse, pheasant and quail eggs, available for delivery or from out proposed Horse View Farm shop, a dry-stone walled paddock of Lavender (weather permitting – might be a problem harvesting in wetsuit, flippers and snorkel), heath, moor and stone-wall “Wuthering Heights” cordials and Darcy tinctures, a large shed to house a bottling and “Cilgwyn Cider” labelling plant and cider press for the apples from our orchard and a few Welsh bleating sheep of course, from the mainly welsh speaking Mart in Cardigan, for the wooly hats – (although there are more than enough for sale and on display inn the window of Gwalia Gifts in Eats Street-) these will be for the angels – they get cold ears too and after all, for centuries up until recently with all hijacked folklore, it has been there mountain too!. Oh I forgot – Government grants for hoof trimming, hives and honey and pumpkins to meet the high local demand.”
Huge thanks must also go to one council member in particular for another extremely detailed analysis of our application. Some of his comments will also amuse us for a very long time of course:
- "Afterall they would not know who peed in it last."
- "Is it intended to open a quarry?" (What a good idea)
- "REASONS FOR REFUSAL..No supporting statement has been made as to where vehicles are to be parked." (a fatal flaw and no mistake)
- "The area of the site is 1.2 hectares. However this is not the same as a global ha. But it is appparent that the site is far smaller than would be expected. I.e. 3x2.4 = 7.2 g.ha." (I see. Wait, what?!)