Fw: Affordable Community Housing

Linda Beamish linda.beamish at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 5 12:22:13 BST 2012

Dear All,

Please find copies of Email sent to the Rural Community Council, Dereham, Norfolk.

At the last 'Formal' Agents Planning Meeting in King's Lynn, I explained to Nikki Patten, (Principal Housing Officer), what I was trying to do as a social entrepreneur & Moderator at the UK Eco-Village Network, based in Norfolk.

Nikki said Samantha Jones at the Rural Community Council was contacting all the charities owning asset land in Norfolk, and suggested I contact her to introduce myself, my social enterprise and the work of the UK Eco-Village Network.

Copy of this email below today's.

In addition to the potential sites sought by Samantha at the RCC, there are also a total of eighteen County Farms for rent via NPS Estates Team.

Imagine if these were used as sustainable community living projects, as shown by the exemplar of everyone involved in the UK Eco-Village Network?

Each site has the potential to be connected to each other, via a series of alternative travel plans.  (From Bow-Top horse drawn Gypsy 'caravans', to pony-trekking, bicycles/bus-cycles, kayaks/canoes, and community show-vehicles run on a range of green fuels.)

Each site has the potential to offer each community with employment and affordable &/or coop housing - and any could be an Eco-Village site, or an Eco-Hamlet, or an Eco-Resort or Eco-Retreat.

Using Simon Fairlie's example with Jyoti Fernandez - between Monkton Wyld Court & Five Penny Farm, (as introduced by Simon & Jyoti at 'The Gathering' at Monkton Wyld in October), we can easily disseminate figures and re-use as proposals for the eighteen farms - using also: http://www.peasantevolution.co.uk as an exemplar for other rural & farming communities to follow.

Linda Hull was also at 'The Gathering', and Tony Gosling said I should speak with Linda - which I did briefly at Monkton Wyld.  (I'm afraid I lost Linda's email address, so if someone in our network could forward this on, I would be most appreciative.)

Primarily, we are known as the UK Eco-Village 'network'.

>From my position of rural isolation in Norfolk, it appears we have a phenomenal resource base between us - which is mainly left untapped, as each Eco-Village & sustainable project can be used as an exemplar of sustainable design to show others.

Linda Hull had hoped to map out all the pieces of asset land - and all the communities looking for sites.

Effectively, this - together with all the existing Eco-Villages, Eco-Hamlets, Eco-Resorts, Eco-Retreats, & Permaculture sites, becomes a Directory - a veritable catalogue for communities across the UK to look at, in order to see what can be achieved where.

As a freelance Eco-Designer & consultant, one of the first things I do for any site, is discuss with the Local Authority what they might like to see on that site.

In order to do that, I need to show pictures and examples - and, since shown CAT Eco-Village in Wales as an exemplar myself to follow by my ex-lecturer in 2003, I have followed their exemplar in project proposals - together with the Lammas Project Eco-Village, (being far more affordable)!

The Principal Planning Officer for Major Projects, (Nick Moys, Dereham, Breckland), very much liked the photos of CAT & Lammas proposals I showed him - and said he was 'sympathetic' to our proposals for www.TheTreeArkProject.org Eco-Village, (straw-bale/lime rendered Eco-Homes on stilts + a community hub/visitor centre, based on The Tree Study Centre of the New Forest.  (February 2009.)

The listing of these projects - as exemplars of sustainable design which can be used for others to follow, is crucial to our success as 'The UK Eco-Village Network'.

Currently, each person and project in our network, lists their projects on their own websites & details accounts on YouTube for Open Source.

As Moderators, we have to go out (as any other person) - to scour the net for our own network's presentations to show others.

Bearing in mind that Tony Gosling applied to the Charity Commission for 'Charity' status - and was refused - so neither Tony nor I, nor any other Moderator, has any way of applying for grants to cover our time or our costs, we wondered if it might not be possible to collaborate?

(E.G.  The banks refused to open a bank account for either 'The Tree Ark Project' Eco-Village - or 'Global Ark Projects' -which was designed to provide the float fund needed to support more Eco-Village 'type' communities.)

Without a bank account, like Tony Gosling - I couldn't get any grant help.

The other requisite of most Grants is that you have to show that your social enterprise is earning income - how can you do that, when you have no human right to live upon the land - and your social enterprise needs land in order to show how successful it can be?

In order to promote the work of the UK Eco-Village Network, Open Source Ecology organisation, the Coop, Chapter7/TLIO, Permaculture Organisation, CoHousing, CLTs, etc., (& in order to help provide the affordable rural housing which I myself am excluded), I have just spent over £35k on an Exhibition Lorry, caravans, 'Land Rover Defender', updating computers, software, buying a 'toughbook', WiBE mobile broadband router - and loads more.

As a single rural parent of three struggling to keep afloat in the first place, I'd really appreciate your collaboration.

It would help greatly if we could partner together on projects - as proposed in part by the Egan Report, and also in part, by our own cooperative nature as a group, dedicated to Environmental Sustainability & Human Rites.

Instead of one project, one project, one project... (Each taking years in the process of Local Authority procrastination) - as we've already received Green Award status for so many sites, which were themselves designed to be replicable from the outset, we could simply & easily blanket wash the UK.

In order to do so - we need your help.

I cannot possibly prepare 18 tenders at once - especially not while trying to pack a household into a caravan, while trying to sell all my furniture - in order to repay my friends the £2.5k rent arrears I owe them.  (I was left unpaid - yet again - for my architectural work last year, as client's thought my social enterprise would cover all the costs & time needed to try and save them over £250k on their Eco-Design project..!  They were going to pay a % of the saving into Ark - which in turn would have helped provide seed fund monies to more projects in our Eco-Village Network.  - Instead, it now appears that they're selling their building without building the extension.  And these 'friends' have said that as far as they're concerned - they owe me nothing.)

If you can help with the presentation material needed for the 18 tenders, or with any of the other projects I'm trying to work on alone, please email:
Linda.Beamish at yahoo.com or ecovillageuk-owner at Yahoogroups.com 

If we win these projects, not only do we help save the rural economy Ecologically - but we also stand to earn the income as a network to ensure that communities never have to go 'cap-in-hand' to the Bankers, Illuminati, Bilderbergers, or anyone else who has alternative reasons for refusing to support our application for grant funds.

To date, while Eco-Villages help replicate Eco-Villages through teaching - few (if any), offer an inclusive float to benefit all others.

As things really are so dire for us all now - we can easily sustain ourselves - especially if we all work under one banner as an Ecological cooperative.

(I bought the domain www.E-Co-Op.org a couple of years ago for the Tree Ark project Eco-Village & Eco-Designs partnering projects.  We could all use this as our own coop if you like.)

As Tony Gosling said - we can build a float fund & can trust each other to take what is needed.

While some of us still have bills to pay - this would at least cover us over the transition period.

(Much explained on the website links - I think I've finished writing explanations now! - although sadly the main website for Global Ark Projects has been crashed out by hackers in China a couple of months ago, and I've no way of resurrecting it.  Now loading slowly at www.wiser.org/group/Ark )

As an Eco-Design consultant, I felt the best name in the world for designs for the 21st Century - given all the predictions - was 'Ark'..!

Essentially, a fusion of Open Source Ecology, Eco-Villages/Hamlets/Resorts/(Holistic)Retreats, EarthShips & Permaculture.

An Ecological Cooperative - a 'Collaboration' - all of us pooling our resources together - and our net profits, to float one another too.  (Co-Op Consortia Trading PDF attached - as linked by Adrian Ashton of the Coop community Hub when I said that rural isolation & demography prevents us as individuals from forming the 'cohesive' group needed for traditional coops.)

Plus, when 'black-listed' by the banks after being left unpaid for our work anyway - no bank wants to touch our application for a bank account with a yard-stick!

Please let us know what you think.

(Please also see previous discussions on this at FaceBook between myself and Katie Saxby/Diggers & Dreamers/North Wales Eco-Village Network - and my discussion with Steve King @FaceBook on Saturday - following down from the link I shared on 'Jutin'.)

Steve King has a piece of woodland in Cornwall upon which he aims to help build a sustainable community, offering affordable Eco-Homes to the local community there.  

Steve said he was going to pull in transition towns as we can't just keep on doing one project at a time.

I said that the UK Eco-Village Network also included: Chapter7/TLIO, Diggers & Dreamers, Diggers 350, Diggers 2012, Grassroots, Radical Routes, Open Source Ecology org, and many more - including the Permaculture organisation, Occupy & 'The Bank of Ideas'.

I explained that we were networked right across the UK - and on a global scale.

Steve's interested in Collaborating - as you'll see from our discussion at FaceBook.

Katie Saxby also said that she was interested in talking more.

Please can we all work together in Collaboration.

Thank You.

(Please also see the link which Darren Woods of 'Encircle' shared a month or two ago - although I think we may have missed the dates now, if we put together a scheme offering at least 3,000 sustainable homes - there were £Millions for the taking.  Following Ark's Eco-Village structure - this would have all gone into OUR float fund.  Never again would we have to live on £0 while paying bills, waiting for multi-millionaires to reach into their back pockets to float our non-profits.)

Could all parties concerned, also consider how it might be if we all networked an Eco-Festival 'live' on the same day?

If we projected graphics of problems & Eco-Solutions onto the backdrop behind the bands & guest speakers, (preferably colour coded), we could easily show all communities what they could do for their communities right to build on one day - AND raise the seed fund monies needed to 'kick-start' their projects simultaneously, through the sale of tickets & exhibition space.

(I'd hoped to show this via 'ARK in the pARK' Eco-Festival & Eco-Conference yesterday, but I had to cancel this at the last minute, as we are still stuck in unaffordable housing, trying to sort out the insurance for the exhibition lorry - without which, I can't move nor exhibit.)

Instead, I ended up hosting a Skype meeting between Genowa Eco-Village in Kenya (who hope to be Ark Kenya - genowa meaning 'hope') + 'Imagine the Rural Development Initiative' in Zambia.  (Both friends in networks via www.wiser.org )

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Linda Beamish <linda.beamish at yahoo.com>
To: Samantha Jones <Samantha at norfolkrcc.org.uk> 
Cc: "linda.beamish at yahoo.com" <linda.beamish at yahoo.com> 
Sent: Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:45 AM
Subject: Re: Affordable Community Housing

Dear Samantha,

Thank you for your email.

Please rest reassured, as an Eco-Design consultant, all that I'd propose to show would be 100% 'Green' in Design, and environmentally sustainable.  (As taught by 'Ecotect' @Wiser.org/group/Ark, in college while CPD in 2003.)

As far as environmental needs, I myself have been writing about environmental pollution since I was about eight years old, attending Heacham Junior School, West Norfolk.  (I've been actively campaigning against pollution & decimation of our environment practically ever since.)

When Ecotect Tony Smith MA warned us people would need to know how to build their own affordable & sustainable homes in 2003, I went off to find the most affordable design solutions - for Eco-Homes, sustainable community exemplars & renewable technologies.

There is no income for research - nor for Further Education/CPD - nor for preparing websites or presentations.

(In fact, as 'social' entrepreneurs, we also have to pay for all the equipment, the domains, the websites, and the software too.)

In 2008, land-owners with eight acres of wetland & woodland asked if I could get them planning consent (outside the LDF).

This led me to form my own showcase Eco-Village community. www.TheTreeArkProject.org (As well as showing others how to build their own sustainable community living projects, we would also have stewarded the woodland, which had been unmanaged for twenty years, benefitting companion species like bumble bees, birds & butterflies too.)

As an Eco-Village showcase, our own 'build budget' was little more than £0.

Most of us have had problems earning income this recession - and a lot of us were self-employed freelance single parents with children living in rural poverty.

As designer, obviously I was left to get on with the outline proposals & feasibility study.

The clients offered me a plot of my own instead of money if I got them Planning Consent.  (They said they were asset rich & cash poor.)  - I needed affordable rural housing, so I accepted the project.  (I'd already worked with The Principal Planning Officer for Major Projects for the same Local Authority on a similar project, and knew I could hit all the Authorities aims.)

(E.G. Employment & Community Enterprise on site, as well as zero impact buildings, alternative travel plans, and benefit to local amenities & Environment.)

As it was, the land-owners decided not to proceed after I'd worked on their project for a year, leaving me unpaid.

Since then, I've prepared outline proposals for our project on many alternative sites across Norfolk - most of which included wetland, or were in areas of Flood Risk.

(All unpaid.)

As such, I needed to arrive at a blanket format which would save wasting my unpaid time.

Many of the sites I've looked at across Norfolk & Suffolk were in areas of Flood Risk.

In order to save valuable Global Resources - and to result in zero impact, buildings can be designed to be sectionally removable and re-used, (repeatedly).

Ergo, even if the site itself cannot be deemed as a permanent site, the building itself can be used to provide 'affordable housing in perpetuity'.

This would also allow the potential for a section 106 Agreement.  

(After the second World War, temporary housing was provided to meet the housing crisis - sadly often built of asbestos.  Hence, 'temporary Eco-Homes' could equally be seen as a 'Green' design for the 21st Century housing crisis.)

Having found no luck in my search for alternative asset land.  (Ignored by Zoe Footer & Mark Kiddle-Morris of the Asset Team at Breckland - even after the Eastern Daily Press' Environment Correspondent Tara Greaves wrote a full-page article on our search for land, and Principal Housing Officer Darryl Smith passed the article on to Breckland asset team in 2010 for action), I originally contacted the RCC for help.

Henry Meiklejohn said that no community would want us 'parachuting in' in-front of a Parish's own communities needs.

As a showcase Eco-Village community, we were going to be helping communities to learn what they needed to build their own sustainable community living projects.

My ex-lecturer was going to work with us, with students.

Given Henry's scenario - and the fact that my own intentional showcase community was scattered not just across Norfolk but far further afield, I had to rethink what I could do with all my research, and how I might help others in East Anglia to provide affordable sustainable housing, employment opportunities - and end poverty/child poverty.

As I said to Henry, if I'm not entitled to live in affordable housing in a sustainable community myself, I'll move from site to site, helping others to design & build theirs.

This will at least allow me the opportunity of moving out of unaffordable rural rental - especially given the fact that I've now been working on proposals for sustainable community living projects since 2005, unpaid.

When I received a small inheritance last year, I bought two caravans, an 11 ton exhibition lorry and a land rover defender, in order to provide this service.

I could equally have bought a parcel of land in Spain - and moved away from Norfolk.  But I couldn't do that knowing the levels of child poverty across our region - and that 160,000 householders were waiting for affordable housing in East Anglia.  (Especially knowing also, that what is seen to be 'affordable' housing to some, most definitely isn't to others.)

If I'm supposed to work for £0 - I need to rent a house for £0 - otherwise it's unsustainable.

I'd already done my market research through my business networks in the area, and via a small exhibition stand at Earth Day.

There are huge numbers of people wanting nothing more than the opportunity of getting out of unaffordable housing - and huge numbers who also want to help steward land, (organically), in exchange for the opportunity of living in free coop housing, without any bills.

(I've received no grant funding.)

I'm connected around the world in order to provide communities across East Anglia with all that they need for their community right to build.

My ex-lecturer wanted to use my research & presentations as class resources to teach modules in Environmental Sustainability - as well as Sustainable Construction.

After writing so much about the lack of human rights for rural people & travellers, I was promoted to the position of 'Moderator' at the UK Eco-Village Network last year.

In 2011, I was also invited to submit Ark's proposals for the Green Economy to Climate CoLab - and in May 2012, was considered one of the top five contributors at Wiser.org  (a platform for social entrepreneurs & experts in sustainability, now 70,000 members strong).

Only yesterday, I was invited to be 'Ambassador' for IRDI, (Imagine the Rural Development Initiative) - in Zambia.

(All unpaid.  All to help others.)

The problem as I see it, is that I'm not very good at selling myself!  

I hope that this email might help to put your concerns to rest, and that we might be able to partner in the provision of assistance needed to help rebuild resilient & sustainable Rural Communities.

All Best Wishes,

Linda Beamish
Ark-it-ect & Ark Angel (Social Entrepreneur)
Moderator: UK Eco-Village Network
Telephone: 01362 684131 (until the end of June 2012)
Mobile: 07810696800
E: Linda.Beamish at yahoo.com
Eco-Village Network: www.evnuk.org.uk & www.groups.yahoo.com/group/ecovillageuk
www.Eco-Designs.net (work)
www.TheTreeArkProject.org (Eco-Village Norfolk/Anywhere)
www.mARKet-House.net (sustainable design exemplar)

(Just to confirm, I specify zero cement, zero waste, water harvesting, and buildings constructed of: straw, stone, Earth, clay, lime, Adobe, Cob, tin cans, bottles, hemp, sheep's-wool, recycled paper, timber and old tyres - materials found readily around any site, as I was taught was needed in 2003.  All to the highest standard of Build Code 6.)

As a social entrepreneur and Eco-Design consultant, income is earned through the savings to others.

Ergo, if we manage to save the Local Authority £Millions as people no longer need to claim benefits & top-ups, we can charge a percentage of these savings as our consultancy fee.

The way that we originally formed the Tree Ark & global Ark projects as a social enterprise, was that ALL the net profits earned through commissions, would simply go into one pool fund, to float ALL non-profits - like the RCC itself, and with specific priority placed on the provision of (truly) affordable Eco-Homes for sustainable community living projects/Eco-Villages, water projects & Permaculture.

Without the opportunity of helping others - I cannot launch this Ark social enterprise to earn any income to cover all my families costs.  (Fundamentally - as I couldn't get grant funding, wasn't entitled to any asset land or affordable housing, and was also left unpaid by paying clients this recession, all costs have been met out of my children's budget - which they knew was to help clean up their environment, and provide a way out of child poverty.)

 From: Samantha Jones <Samantha at norfolkrcc.org.uk>
To: Linda Beamish <linda.beamish at yahoo.com> 
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 3:54 PM
Subject: RE: Affordable Community Housing

Dear Linda
Thanks for your e-mail. I certainly hope
the community land trust/charity housing, when it gets off the ground, will be
as environmentally sustainable as possible (both to protect the environment and
to keep running costs to a minimum) – and there are a number of good
housing demonstrators out there, which we can learn from, including some local
Passivhaus social housing.  
Overall the aim of the project is to
provide permanent affordable housing for local people, that will remain
affordable in perpetuity and in part this is done by separating the land price
for the housing. I could not quite see how this might fit with your temporary eco-homes/community proposals,
but I will take another look at your websites on my return in a couple of weeks. 
Good luck with ARK in the pARK!
With kind regards
Samantha Jones
Project Officer - Affordable Housing
tel: 01362 698216
Click here
to support Norfolk RCC
Not a member
yet? Click here to join Norfolk RCC
NorfolkRural Community Council
Ambassador Way, Greens Road
Dereham, Norfolk 
NR20 3TL

From:Linda Beamish [mailto:linda.beamish at yahoo.com] 
Sent: 19 June 2012 09:55
To: Samantha Jones
Subject: Affordable Community
I am
writing as suggested by Nikki Patten, who I spoke with at the last formal Agent's
meeting for planners & architectural designers in King's Lynn .
explained that you were looking at opportunities to work with relief charities
in Norfolk that own land that could be used for community owned affordable
housing schemes (using the Community Land Trust model).
2003, our ex-lecturer warned that we were heading into this recession &
said people would need to know how to build their own Eco-Homes using
affordable & readily available building materials.  CAT Eco-Village in Wales 
was used as an exemplar of sustainable design for us to follow.
went on a voyage of discovery the length & breadth of which I will not
bother to try and detail - suffice to say, last year my ex-lecturer said he
wanted my researched bookmarks as class resources to teach modules in
environmental sustainability & sustainable construction.
I was
also promoted to the position of 'Moderator' at the UK Eco-Village Network (after I
wrote so much about the lack of human rights for rural people & travellers)
- and as a member of 'Wiser's global community of social entrepreneurs, I was
invited to join Climate CoLab - and to submit my proposals for 'The Green
2008, I had formed my own showcase 'sustainable community living project' - we
were going to be Norfolk's version of CAT in Wales, and be an Eco-Village
showcase, which would help teach people how to build their own sustainable
communities, (and their own Eco-Homes from as little as just £3k each).
lost the proposed site in 2009.  
now bought an 11 ton exhibition lorry (which could run on old chip oil in
transition), a Gazebo (& an LPG Land Rover to reach the very isolated rural
areas) - any or all of which can be used to show & exhibition for the
communities right to build.
you already know, East Anglia can now proudly boast 160,000 householders on the
waiting lists for affordable housing - and child poverty levels of one in three
children, as across the country the combined total now tallies 4 million
children living in poverty.  (Three of which are my own - I lost my own
affordable rural housing in 2006, and have been left unpaid by several clients
this recession.)
won't bore you with it all - instead, I'm attaching a leaflet which I hope
simply explains what we can do to help.
can travel to any community which is in need of affordable housing - and show
exemplars of sustainable design running right across the price ranges.
can attend Green Build exhibitions, Eco-Festivals - or we can help to organise
them.  (I'm also currently trying to organise an ' ARK in the pARK' Eco-Festival & Open
Eco-Conference for Independence Day, which will be a networked event, from
community to community - to community.  Detailed online, via FaceBook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, the UK Eco-Village Network & listed in the events pages
at www.wiser.org )  
Eco-Homes can solve the housing crisis and end child poverty practically
If I
can be of assistance to your work within the Rural Community Council, or if you
would like to discuss matters further, please don't hesitate in contacting me -
I can't wait to get going and actually launch Ark to help others!  
Best Wishes,
& Ark Angel (Social Entrepreneur)
Moderator: UK 
Eco-Village Network
01362 684131 (until the end of June 2012)
Linda.Beamish at yahoo.com
Network: www.evnuk.org.uk & www.groups.yahoo.com/group/ecovillageuk
(Eco-Village Norfolk/Anywhere)
(sustainable design exemplar)
also AnEarthMother @Twitter @Facebook @YouTube (& lots more)!
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