Devon smallholders win right to build home

Willand Devin couple win planning battle - go off-grid
They won their fight – you can too
A young family has won the right to live off the grid on their smallholding after a battle to get planning permission.

Dinah and Stig Mason were refused permission to build a house on the four-acre site in Willand, classified as open countryside.

Changes to planning laws mean the Masons can now convert an old barn on the site.

Mrs Mason said: “We’re ecstatic. We can finally live the life that we choose.”

We are going to have to spend a lot more money, but we have got our dream”

The couple, who moved into a horsebox on the smallholding in 2009, have greenhouses, chickens, sheep and pigs and aim to live as self-sufficiently as they can.

Mid Devon District Council rejected plans in 2011 for a straw-bale constructed house on the land because the land was classified as agricultural.

The couple were served with an injunction to leave and the family moved to a site for travellers.

But the Masons went back to the council with a new application, citing the National Planning Framework and its reference to regenerating redundant farm buildings.

Planning laws now allow the reuse of redundant or disused buildings if the development enhances the area.

Mid Devon District Council awarded the Masons permission subject to 12 conditions.

The approval said: “It is also consistent with national and local policies relating to the conversion of redundant rural buildings to dwellings.”

The couple said the straw bale house would have been cheaper to build and to heat.

Mrs Mason said: “We are going to have to spend a lot more money, but we have got our dream and there are not many people in their 30s who get to live their dream.

The couple hope to be in their new home with their two children by Christmas.

3 Responses

  1. 08-31-2014…..
    Its the LAW in Florida “TODAY” if you are a bona fide farm and receive your Greenbelt Classification from your Property Appraiser….. your property in NOW EXEMPT from ALL zoning and building permits by local authority’s …with the only exception water management “flood zones” …..good luck … 32175w@gmail.com ……. Bob

  2. why would you need anyone’s permission to do what ever you want on your land! If you want to live in a refrigerator, what business is it of county government or any other government. Living off the grid also means not living by the rules set by those on the grid. if you must follow their rules, then you are on the grid. the grid is not just power, water, sewer, telephone or the internet. it is also the control government has on you. Just my opinion.

  3. YEEHA well done them
    what a great example they are to us all !
    I am following suit with my partner
    just shows the good & real are winning !!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Join the global off-grid community

Register for a better experiencE on this site!