I have run a community arts festival in Blandford for the last 4yrs and also one back in 2004. I felt we needed a base that could link directly to the community and visitors to Blandford, rather than relying on social media and temporary pop up locations. As there are no focal points for the arts in Blandford I thought I would try and find something. As a non profit voluntary group, budget is always tight. There is this centrally located small pocket of land, that has been overgrown and redundant for many years. I told my idea to the land owner who liked it and agreed to let me use this land. The plan was to put up an affordable basic shed, renovate it and if it proves successful maybe try at a later date to fundraise for something more substantial and stylish.
Unfortunately this land/walled garden is not classed as a domestic garden so has no permitted development associated with it. It is also set in the conservation area, this means we need planning permission to put up a simple shed. Showing his commitment, the landowner kindly agreed to pay for this. At about the same time I found and was given 2 sheds. I snapped them up. Sadly I had no where to store them safely, so I put them up, it seemed the better and safer option.
We did not expect a problem and thought the application would be just routine, but this was not the case. I only found out some of the issues too late for the first application to be recommended by both the planning and conservation officers. Due to this it was withdrawn.
We have all the key information now and are re-applying which means another planning fee. This time I need to raise the funds to pay for the next planning application which would be £234 for the basic one, using the sheds just for storage. However to use the garden for workshops and any other activities it will also need change of use which is sadly £462. We do have an extended target set to cover this , we really need to include it in the next planning application. So if we reach the £240 target, we want to keep going. Our choice two applications put in at different times, one to put up the sheds the other for change of use for the space. Or we combine the two and just have the one fee of £462.
If you think Blandford needs this, then I ask you please help by donating what you can afford and if you haven't already done so then please sign our petition. https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/blandford-community-art-project
Thankyou. Kate Seeger