Proposals for a healing center with yurt, solar dome and a permaculture woodland garden are being put forward for a field in Metherell.
Healer and musician Suryan Hall and counsellor and artist Gudrun Taresch, who both live in the village, bought the field together at an auction after meeting just a few weeks beforehand and realizing they both had the same idea. They started work on digging foundations for the yurt back in the autumn, but halted after objects from residents and a visit from a planning enforcement officer from Cornwall Council.
They now intend to seek planning permisssion from Cornwall Council to go ahead with their plans. In the meantime they have continued to plant trees.
‘I was surprised, not necessarily by the reaction as such but the energy that was behind it,’ said Gudrun.
When objects were raised, they stopped working on the yurt, but the earthworks remain at the top of the field behind Nicholas Meadow.
‘If we get planning permission, that is where the yurt will be built,’ said Gudrun. ‘I didn’t imagine we would need planning permission for a yurt.
‘We started before the winter because we wanted to have it up before the winter. We knew we couldn’t do anything over the winter.
‘That is why we got going, but then some neighbors didn’t like the idea and reported us to the council and then Cornwall Council and the parish council came and then a planning enforcement officer came and said that we had got to stop immediately. We also had a visit from an official about the footpath and all we did was put a fence alongside it.’
The field, which has a footpath alongside it linking Nicholas Meadow and Lower Metherell, contains a stable building from its previous use as a meadow to graze horses.
Gudrun plans to convert part of this into a chicken coop. There will also be a productive polytunnel, edible and medicinal plants and a wetland area with willows as well as a pond.
Gudrun, who lives in the village with her husband and teenage son, came to England from her native Germany nine years ago.
She said that part of her plans were to provide somewhere for the local teenagers to go, as many are in despair and need a safe space to be able to meet. She will also use the yurt to conduct group therapy sessions.
She and Suryan are also planning an assault course, to help local young people get active and work out frustrations through physical problem solving.
‘We are both different, very different, so we will be able to complement each other,’ she added.
Suryan, who has worked both as a healer and a primary school teacher, changed his name unofficially from his birthname Stuart several years ago. He teaches a kind of body conditioning which has its roots in Indian culture, called Karlakatti. He plans to teach this in the solar dome, which will provide a light and soundproof space for sessions.
He is also a musician, practising Carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music that originates in Southern India.
‘I have studied this for 20 years,’ he says. ‘It is deeply therapeutic and is the original sound healing. After working as a schoolteacher for ten years I became thoroughly disillusioned with the system. Education is a passion and I would like this center to be an example of what can be achieved in the learning, development and healing of our children.
‘I will include adults, particularly families, to strengthen the roots of our society which are so deeply traumatised.’
He added: ‘The solar dome will be an amazing space but also very practical as all the classes will be available online, free, for everyone.’