How anthroposophists got planning permission for Steiner research centre

In October 2010 the Development Control Committee met to decide whether to grant consent for planning applications, one of which was for what is now the Field Centre at Ruskin Mill.

Screenshot (52)

The minutes will be found here;

Two Councillors declared a “personal non-prejudicial interest” in item 5, one was John Marjoram who had previously been employed at Ruskin Mill, but “Remained in the Chamber and took part in the discussion and voted.”

As you will see it was a close vote, but permission was granted.


The Principal Planning Officer presented the application for full planning permission at The
Gables, Tiltups End, Horsley, Stroud.

The application sought permission for the erection of a building for the purposes of biodynamic research with a study centre.
The Principal Planning Officer informed the Committee that Condition 2 of the report would be
amended, as set out in Appendix A to these Minutes.
Gables Farm was the agricultural branch of the Ruskin Mill educational Trust, which is run on
biodynamic principles. The Hiram Trust was a separate organisation who wanted to use Gables
Farm as a base.
The proposed development consisted of a modern building with a floor area of 230sqm. The
building would contain office space for 2 full-time researchers, library, kitchenette, toilets and a
variety of meeting/seminar rooms. The building was proposed to be diamond shaped with a matt
finished copper dome and grassed roof.
The Chair of the Development Control Committee invited the Ward Member, Councillor Fi
Macmillan to address the Committee. The Ward Member informed the Committee that a division
in the community had arisen due to the application and pointed out the unsustainable location and
extravagant design.
A Motion to ACCEPT the Officer’s recommendation was proposed by Harry Carr and seconded
by Councillor Barbara Tait.
During the debate some Members expressed concerns about the location and design of the
building and for the potential increase of traffic on the local highway network.
On being put to the vote, there were 5 votes for the motion, 5 against and 0 abstentions the Chair
used his casting vote and it was declared CARRIED.
Accordingly, the Committee
RESOLVED To PERMIT application S.10/1679/FUL subject to the conditions stated in the
report and the additional conditions in Appendix A to these Minutes.


The Highways Planning Liaison response was to recommend the application be refused.

The Novalis Trust sent in additional information saying that their qualifications are ” a unique contribution to the development of vocational, situated learning. ”

Sad to see that SDC appear to have relied on wikipedia for their description of biodynamics, which does not provide all the relevant information; nothing about the skulls, bladders or mesenteries.



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