I was putting together my changes to the barn design for the Council and, because the weather discouraged me from measuring the Pigsty for its Bakery, decided to write and ask what form I should use. Then, this morning, I ran off a cliff.

They’ve spotted that I can’t start work on the big barn before the planning permission runs out because bat surveys are a summer thing and the deadline for breaking ground is March. I’d worked this out recently but thought that the change request or an extension would fix it. Turns out that, first, the changes we want were never going to be entertained and would have needed a new application; and, second,  they’ve decided not to allow any extensions for anyone any more.

We’re not as buggered as it seems because we still have the new barn to build first, as scheduled, which gives us time to work through a new application for the big barn and, as it happens, we’d have ended up in the same place by Hook or Crook. It just feels bad right now.

This new situation relieves the pressure a bit but it also brings a question: how much of our plans to reveal in the new application? Our idea was to ask for (what we thought were) minor changes to permission to build a dwelling and later to ask for Change of Use to allow the bunkhouse to operate. Now, we can lay our cards on the table for Council who have said they’re keen on such schemes. Unfortunately, a new application exposes us to scrutiny from the neighbours. We don’t think our style of bunkhouse would cause a problem but I’m sure the usual suspects will object on principle. One step at a time, I suppose. 

At least I can get back to my schedule without the distraction of the Council submission before March. Which means drainage! This next project is to find out where all this water comes from and goes to; and to control it. Weeks out the back with a hoe and a shovel. Real changes to the usability of the flows. Dryness in the barns. Security for our house supply. Conscious control of where the grey water drains away. Reed beds, gravel races and willow breaks.

And, heaven forefend, perhaps some TLC for the forest garden.

But, first, pour down a whisky and watch another downpour. Monica and I decided that, better than names, storms should be tagged with cuss-words. Hurricane “Bugger Me!”: do your worst!

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