A ‘historic’ Herefordshire farmhouse can now be demolished after a plan to modernize a rural meditation center has been given the green light.
The offer from the Vipassana Trust, which owns the Dhamma Dipa center near St Owens Cross, was approved by council planners this week, 10 months after the application was filed.
A total of eight buildings will be demolished as part of the plan, 10 caravans will be removed and 11 accommodation buildings will be constructed as well as 13 building extensions and a replacement water tower.
This will allow the center to provide 186 single rooms, described as “small”, for all students and staff, rather than the current mix of single and shared rooms and dormitories.
The parish council of Llanwarne and District Group said last February that it opposed the demolition of the farmhouse because of its “historical value and concern for the local community”.
He also raised concerns about the likely impact of demolition and construction traffic on narrow lanes in the area, and potential light pollution from the development.
However, neither Historic England nor the council’s highways department raised any objections, nor did Natural England raise concerns about the possible impact of the project on the River Wye watershed.
Approval is conditional on the center providing a travel plan to promote sustainable transportation for staff and visitors, and a plan for biodiversity enhancement elements at the site.
The center was established in 1991 on the 22-acre site of a former riding school, and it opened a new two-story meditation pagoda in the summer of 2018.
He also planted hundreds of trees to give the center privacy, facilitate meditation, and protect buildings from neighbors.
Although Vipassana meditation was developed by the Buddha, its practice is not limited to Buddhists.
Male and female students and staff are kept separate both during lessons and in accommodation.