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The Yoga Social Planning Update

Hi Everyone

I felt I needed to give you all a full update on the progress of my planning application given so many of you have been in touch. I was deeply humbled and grateful to receive 96 responses to the community impact survey we conducted and so many of you took the time to share your own unique experience of the yurt and the space we have created together. It was truly uplifting to read them and has really helped me to stay focussed on doing all I can to ensure a successful outcome.

If you would like to see the full results of this survey it is available on the Fife Council Planning Portal along with all the other documentation and supporting statements relating to the application.

Therefore it is with great disappointed that I need to let you know that in the planning committee meeting on Wednesday 13th September my 22/02475/FULL planning application was not concluded. However I remain undeterred, and I am currently responding to the points and actions requested by the planning committee to ensure that my application can be concluded, and that permission is granted.

As part of my case to the council it was highlighted that as working mum of three, I started The Yoga Social in 2017 with the aim of offering friendly and accessible yoga classes in my local community. As a fully qualified Yoga Therapist I have seen first-hand the benefits of yoga on my own physical and mental health and wellbeing and wanted to share my learning and practice to the benefit of others.

My classes are open to all, from all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. The positive response from the local community to my yoga classes and also addressing the need for safe, comfortable spaces in a post-pandemic world, culminated in me following my dream of creating a dedicated yoga & wellbeing studio in the grounds of my home. With financial support from the Scottish Government Mobile & Home Based Close Contact Services fund in March 2021 this dream became a reality. I was told at the time that I did not require planning permission as a yurt is classed as a temporary structure, so on this basis it was installed in good faith.

The wellbeing studio is a yurt handmade in Callander, using local larch from Scottish Woods in Oakley. It is lined with wool felt for warmth and breathability and the floor is insulated with recycled wool from Stirling, making the structure all natural and sustainable. The yurt studio has been sensitively located in my garden to blend in with the natural environment.

Over the time I have been working from this space I have continued to be amazed at the impact it has had on the people that come to it. The unique combination of wellbeing practices (yoga & also meditation, sound healing, womens circles and foraging workshops) and the beautiful setting of the yurt seem to be a potent combination. This is of course should be no big surprise given the extensive research on the positive effect of nature on mental health.

The studio provides a welcoming space with a focus on small class sizes. I regard my business model as one that compliments the commitments outlined in Fife Council’s Plan for Fife The Plan for Fife has a strong focus on addressing fairness and bringing communities together. I believe my business directly addresses the four key themes that now direct the work of the Fife Partnership – Opportunities for all, thriving places, inclusive growth and jobs and community led services. My ethos is providing community, connection and calm, something that the yurt and its location wholeheartedly underpins. The space is also used by other local wellbeing practitioners providing sound healing, yoga classes in Polish, foraging & herbal medicine and a support group for local women.

I believe that my work also contributes to NHS Fife’s new Population Health and Wellbeing strategy - Priority 1 - Improve Health and Wellbeing, with the following ambitions; good mental wellbeing, create a sustainable, inclusive economy with equality of outcomes for all. Encourage the population to eat well, have a healthy weight and are physically active.”

In Spring 2022 as directed by Fife Council planning team I applied for retrospective planning and change of use. In support of this I have already carried out comprehensive surveys, including community impact, speed & traffic as well as full risk assessments.

One recommendation from the planning meeting on the 13th September was to establish a Section 75 legal agreement with Broomhall Estate to maintain good visibility from the road junction along West Road. I have started a conversation with Broomhall Estate in relation to this as they have already been supportive in cutting back the bushes along that stretch. However I do fear that the cost and time to invoke this kind of legal agreement may be untenable for a micro-business such as mine, on top of the substantial costs that I have already personally incurred during this process.

We all know that the yurt and space we have created is a much loved community asset, a small space with a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our community.

I will continue to do my best to protect it and ensure that we can all enjoy it and it’s peaceful surroundings for years to come.

Thank you for your continued support, I remain optimistic that planning consent will be granted in due course and I will endeavour to keep you informed of progress via my blog.

Love Lisa x

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