Buddhist monastery in East Devon seeks more meditation space for monks

Agricultural land will be used as extra meditation space for monks at a Buddhist monastery in East Devon if a planning application is successful.

The Hartridge Buddhist Monastery in Upottery is seeking permission for a trio of ‘kuti’ huts on fields it owns next to its Odle Cottage home.

Proposals have been recommended for approval by district council officers.

The authority’s Planning Committee will decide the fate of the application on September 1.

A report to members says the scheme goes against the council’s Local Plan in that it is development in open countryside.

But the report adds: “Nevertheless, the proposal is considered to be well-located in relation to the adjoining monastery site and well-screened within the landscape such that the proposals would not give rise to any discernible landscape impact.

“The proposals would be very low impact additions and would assist in the development of the monastery which through its operation provides some wider community benefits and would also provide some additional environmental/biodiversity gains through further native planting proposed.

“On balance and whilst recognising the application represents a departure from the Development plan the proposal is considered to be acceptable and is recommended for approval.”

The monastery is asking East Devon District Council (EDDC) for a change of use for the land and provision of three meditation huts for resident monks.

Made up of a small group of buildings and adjoining woodland, the monastery occupies a site of around 22 acres on land to the east of Hartridge Common in the parish of Luppitt.

The two fields which are the subject of the application have been laid to meadow and lie to the immediate west of the woodland and east of the common land.

The proposed ‘kutis’ are proposed on the lower, eastern, side of these fields next to the woodland.

Luppitt Parish Council said it had no objection to the application ‘on the basis that the meditation huts will be for monastic use only’.

Dunkeswell and Otterhead ward member Councillor David Key said: “I have no objection as long as the huts are used for meditation and not for holiday or any accommodation.”

The application states: “The three new huts [kutis]will be used as a space for individual meditation and specifically for the members of the monastic community.”

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