Our Development Application has finally been submitted - HOORAY!!!
Sorry for being cryptic about our plans over the past couple of weeks. Despite the excitement I was unable to say anything for fear of getting the important sequence of consultation, finalising and submitting of all the information in the correct order. I am told these application processes need to be managed carefully to make sure you get the best possible result and we had neighbours who were still overseas and had not yet been informed.
We are there now so I am free to talk until my hearts content about "Coal River Farm".
So what is it? Put simply, we basically wanted to restore our lower 18 acre paddock to it's former glory by turning it back into a mixed produce farm (Top Photo). It is currently sown with oats, which doesn't do justice to it's full horticultural potential or it's location along the main tourist route to historic Richmond Village. The idea is to bring together the best artisans we can find, showcase them and their craft and allow people to interact with the process.
There will be a Farm-Gate at the bottom of the paddock while up the hill a modern interpretation of the traditional farmhouse will house our chocolate, cheese and charcuterie artisans along with a cheese cave, restaurant and other more intimate public areas. Orchards, Berries, Flowers and a Vineyard also feature prominently, being planted as a pick-your-own experience (Landscape Master Plan). The idea is to link the produce and livestock grown on the farm and in the surrounding area directly to the product made and consumed on site.
Although it is only step 2 in what will be a lengthy 5 Step process, so much work has gone into these first 2 steps (Concept Development and the Development Application) that we have to celebrate each and every milestone. If the Plan is approved, there is still the hard task of raising capital to fund the project, then comes the building process followed by the challenge of opening the doors and establishing a new business. Daunted? Yes, absolutely.
It seems like it has taken years to get to this point but there was a flurry of activity these last few days. The Plan was submitted last Wednesday, the local paper contacted us on Friday, they came out and took a photo of us on Saturday, the story was run on Sunday and that evening we collapsed on the Sofa and woke up with the flu. It's been an exhausting process thus far. The reality is that it will still take up to 2 years before the doors will officially open, if all the stars align and we get to the next stage. You can read the article here if you are interested.
I'm including the photo that was in the article to show the site and it also just so happens to be the only family photo we have since Flynns birth 7 months ago (so sad I know!!!). Oh, and we tried and tried and the photographer tried and the Grandparents tried to cajole the Whippet off the picnic rug but to no avail - he dug his paws in and was not going to miss this once in a blue moon family shot.
So what do you think?