What to do with a field?

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What to do with a field?

Post: #264690 Skippy
Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:55 am

I have a friend who owns a cottage in Wales about 20 or so miles from Welshpool. The field in front of him is coming up for sale soon and my friend is interested in buying it largely to stop any development or building on the land and spoiling what is in fairness a pleasent and tranquil little valley (yes I know he could be accussed of being a "nimby" but I understand his motives). There isn't actually any planning permission , even outline permission, on the ground but my friend is cynical when he looks at the government's stance on the greenbelt.
The land is around 3 acres or so , sloping , and a bit boggy at one end and is currently used for grazing sheep. In a ideal world my friend could just buy the land and that would be the end of the story but he would really need some sort of return other than the £8 something a year he would get because of the additional telegraph pole. To this he asked myself and others for ideas so I thought I'd broaden the scope by asking on here to see if anyone comes up with something we haven't.
One other thing, my friend is a vegatarian and doesn't want to harm any animals although I can't really see any form of animal farming that doesn't involve the animal either being killed for food or similiary killed because it's an unproductive male or a now non producing female :scratch: .
Over to the clever people on here?


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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264692 boboff
Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:27 am

Apply for planning and build houses, he could keep the one at the front?

I will gaurantee him something, he would make more money doing a paperround per hour than trying to make a return on this small a scale.

I know thats a bit negative, but you need to tell him to just think about enjoying it, making it the way he wants it, or just simply renting it out for grass keep for horses etc.
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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264697 oldjerry
Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:04 am

If it's used for grazing sheep,then that's what it's good for.999 times out of 1000 the locals have probably figured out the best way to use it.
The price asked for the land will give your friend a pretty good idea of the chance of any buyer getting PP.Better still have him go into the local plannning Dept. and say he's considering buying it ,and what are the chances of buildng on it.In my experience they can be quite helpfull and informal about this kind of thing.You don't need an appointment,and take a map showing where it is.Then he can make his mind up wether or not he's going to chuck his money at it.

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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264705 Zech
Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Someone has inherited a field in our village (about 50 miles from Welshpool) and having learnt that his chances of getting planning permission are nil, is investigating a solar park. This would be a load of solar panels on poles with mechanisms to track the sun, for maximum efficiency. I'm a bit hazy on the details, but I get the impression that there are companies willing to pay the initial investment in return for the FIT payments. Thinking about it, your friend wouldn't get any return until that was paid off (8-10 years) but after that the return would be huge. Of course there's the visual impact, depending on aspect. I'm not sure how tall these things are but we were told they could easily be screened with hedges.

Probably not something your friend would be interested in, but thought I'd throw it in there.

I'd say the price will give a pretty good idea of what the vendor would like potential buyers to think the chance of getting planning permission is. Our local planning dept (next county) has recently got a lot less helpful - or at least, they may be just as helpful but they now charge a fee for this kind of advice. I think it's £30. They'll have a local plan showing where building will be considered and where it won't. It should be possible to consult that for free and they're pretty rigid about sticking to it, but I'm not sure how long it lasts for.
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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264715 Jandra
Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:10 pm

Willow for coppicing at boggy end. Orchard at drier end?

I'd make a forest garden if I had a field, but that's me...

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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264722 Thomzo
Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:42 pm

Sounds like there are some good suggestions here. I was going to suggest renting it for horses or planting an orchard so I'm just repeating what has already been offered. One thing to bear in mind is how much the value of his house would drop if someone did build on that land? That might be enough to make up his mind.

So, other options: car boot sales? They don't even have to be every week and he could stop doing them eventually, camping, go carting, offering the land for archery, golf, something else practice, alpacas or other non-food animals or how about just advertising it to rent and see who comes out of the woodwork, a neighbour might want to rent it to grow veg or soft fruit.

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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264726 Skippy
Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:08 pm

Many thanks to all who took the time to don their thinking caps.
As I said the land is currently used for grazing sheep although from what my friend can glean from the old chap who owns the field the money he gets from leasing it out is only just at the breaking even level. Continuing to use the land in this way would also be the easiest thing to do and wouldn't involve much in the way of further investment.
The idea of solar panels or something like it was thought of but he wasn't too keen on the idea plus added to that in the area at the moment there is a protest about preposed power lines and wind farms. Personally I do think solar panels are pretty ugly (even though I've got some on my own roof) but nowhere near as ugly as a nuclear power station. He has rejected a cart track for similiar reasons.
The camping he does like but would cost quite a sum to set up especially as he likes the look of the up market mongolian yert type of thing.
Another suggestion was alotments, again not too much upfront outlay but not going to raise a huge amount I'd think and anyway perhaps too far from any decent sized town.
In all honesty I think the tree growing would be the best option, not too much in outlay , grants available , and it pretty much looks after itsself.
I'll e-mail this thread to my friend for his consideration and thanks again


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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264729 Skippy
Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:14 pm

Almost forgot another idea I came up with.
Allow gardeners to tip their waste on the field and here I'm thinking pros with ton sacks of clippings every day and then simply compost it and sell it on.
Would that even work? There would be little outlay to start, an industrial shredder and a shovel followed by a bagging apperatus in a couple of years and the raw materials are either free of people pay to dump it there.
or I could be talking twaddle :dontknow:


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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264734 GeorgeSalt
Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:23 pm

You'd need to check with the EA on waste regulations for the composting idea. I know that the regulations on this have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years - in a good way, towards making it easier. I last looked into something similar many years ago, the problem then was that noone had got their heads around at what point the green waste became compost (ie. at what point i ceased to be waste and became a product).

If the aspect is right.. orchards or soft fruit, rent it out on a landshare type arrangement or even lease for community gardens/orchard (if the community can support it). Putting it to orchard wouldn't stop other uses alongside - camping (within permissable limits on the number of days), grazing, keeping an area for allotments, etc.
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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264764 boboff
Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:29 am

If its over 100 tonnes then you need Environment Agency Approval, which is costly and a pain in the bottom, I've looked at it too!

With regards to planning, I think the times are a changin' and in 70 or so years you may find he could build on it.
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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #264767 Skippy
Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:04 am

Well it's good to know that I'm not a million miles off the mark with the composting idea.
I suppose that it would really need to be at least 100 tonnes and probably a good deal more for it to be a viable source of income. I'm assuming that the 100 tonnes would be the weight of the material diposited rather than the weight of the compost produced?
George's point about when waste becomes a product is something I hadn't thought about. A recent change in the law may be relavant here. The law changed on the 18th may concerning landfill in that some materials are now classed and therefore taxed differently. Rubble and soil were used to cap off domestic rubish to provide a "suitable stable substrate" and as such taxed at £2.50 per tonne as inert waste. However, the changes now call this material "engineering waste" as it has a specfic use and can be taxed at , according to some sources, £64 per tonne. So if grass clippings were delivered to me as garden waste it could be viewed as a product for tax purposes? That would probably put the end to that idea :(


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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #265424 EcoSam
Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:34 pm

As others have indicated it really depends on how much time, effort and money the bloke is willing to put into the land. It is possible to make a living off 3 acres (depending on location) but it's hard work and you won't be able to live a life of luxury so to speak. There's an interesting report called 'Small is Successful' (.pdf) by the Ecological Land Cooperative which uses 8 organic smallholding case studies to establish whether small tracts of land can be profitable; you/your mate might find some ideas there.

If he wanted to continue raising sheep on the land it would be possible to increase the yield by introducing trees in a silvopasture kind of way. Not only is it possible to get a yield of timber/fruit/nuts, it's also been suggested that, by providing shelter (in the form of trees), sheep bear a greater number of lambs and lambs have a higher chance of reaching maturity.

Personally I'd go down the food forest route with some space dedicated to growing annual vegetables, a polytunnel or three, some bee hives and possibly some livestock (chickens and ducks). You get multiple stacked functions, multiple yields and a relatively high yield per acre with a minimum of inputs.

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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #265452 JuzaMum
Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:09 pm

How about woodland burial ground? These seem to be growing in popularity. Sorry I don't have a clue how to go about it but I thought I would throw the idea in along with the others.

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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #272319 Skippy
Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:26 am

Well , an update.
The land was broken up into two seperate lots for the sale. Actually they are physically seperated by a road anyway. The lot the other side of the road is a little over an acre and has mature trees on it and sold for £11000. The 2 acres adjacent to my friends cottage is currently pasture and this is the plot my friend managed to aquire for £12000. Interestingly the plot with the trees is now up for sale again as the new owner is hoping to make a quick buck I think. I've told my friend to offer him no more than £7-8000, it's an old adage that says if you're not embarassed by the offer you've offered too much. However , I don't think my friend is in any real position to extend the mortage any further.
Buying the land has seemed the simple part of the plan so far. Convincing my friend of what to do with the land is a rather more uphill struggle , even his own brothers are getting exsaperated as every idea gets rejected.
There is currently nothing on the land, no sheep or anything and attracting someone to rent it has so far (and previously) turned up nothing.
Considering it is unlikely my friend will be living there permantly pretty much rules out anything to do with animals except someone else renting the land and every other idea seems to run into the same problem- that of it becoming in his words "an eyesore". Eyesores include allotments, cycle tracks , solar or wind farms, leaving it as a nature reserve (because it will be all overgrown), burial site and he is not even keen to plant it with trees for the same reason. At most he is talking " a few " trees around the outside to provide him with firewood.
There is an old barn on the land that was described as the "original cottage site" by the estate agent which he has thought of turning into a holiday let but that would involve a decent investment as in reality it is little more than a few stone walls and a corrugated roof at the moment. Oddly enough he has also though about putting caravans on there although how (to me ) oblong white boxes are any less of an eyesore is baffling.
At the moment as I have said he has no income from the land and is even looking at a small tractor for grass cutting and the like and is currently trying to sell stuff on e-bay to help out his finances.


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Re: What to do with a field?

Post: #272366 Uller
Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:12 pm

If he is thinking about caravans, how about a Caravan Club certificated (their word, not mine) location? The basic requirements are a drinking water tap and somewhere to empty toilet waste - we have stayed on several in the past and this can be anything from a fancy shed with raised waste pipe to a hole in the ground above the sewer. Should be fairly low cost to set up.

He would be allowed no more than 5 caravans or motorhomes for no more than 28 days at a time, but to be honest on a basic site, most people would probably stay a night or two on the way to somewhere else. We generally expected to pay around £5 per night.

It isn't a huge money spinner, but he wouldn't need to use the whole site and it would at least bring something in.
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