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"Hobbit House" in Pembrokeshire forced to be torn down.

 
Glenn Coie
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Burra Maluca
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There's an e-petition out to try to save it - here's the link. Save the Hobbit-Hole petition

Here's a photo of the inside, taken from this site.

 
fiona smith
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Thanks for the link. it's very inspiring that the couple found the courage to make a home there. yet i'm saddened but not suprised by the mentality of the elite. Yet they don't mind anyone trashing things, as they benefit from it. so if i were them i would be forced to sue them for at least 3 million if they take it down. whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

Freeman and women we are!!
 
Logan Simmering
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Different Article

A family that built a controversial roundhouse without planning permission in north Pembrokeshire has lost their appeal.

A Planning Inspector has upheld a decision by Pembrokeshire County Council to issue an enforcement notice against the dwelling at Glandwr.

The appeal by Megan Williams was dismissed by Inspector Iwan Lloyd because the benefits of the development did not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.

The Inspector upheld the enforcement notice, which required that the roundhouse and all associated work, including the timber decking, be demolished and the land returned to its previous condition within two months.

But the family has submitted a retrospective planning application which will now be considered.

Pembrokeshire County Council issued the enforcement notice against the roundhouse in December 2012 because it had been built without planning permission in open countryside and was therefore contrary to the Joint Unitary Development Plan (JUDP).

Miss Williams’ appeal sought to justify the development on the basis of its low impact, in terms of its construction, and use and the families’ self sufficient lifestyle.

In reaching his decision Inspector Lloyd looked in detail at local and national planning policies regarding low impact dwellings. He said the Welsh Government’s guidance in TAN 6 for applications made in respect of OPD (One Planet Development) required robust evidence contained in a management plan produced by a competent person, which was absent in this case.

He further said the effect of the septic tank on the environment had not been assessed and the transport assessment was not clear.

“I therefore conclude that there is a lack of proper justification for the benefits of the low-impact development in this case for this matter to be given sufficient weight and to outweigh the policies which seek to control development in the countryside.”

Regarding the appellants’ claim that the roundhouse was not visually intrusive he said the fact that it was unobtrusive was not by itself a good argument as: “The character and appearance of the countryside should be protected for its intrinsic sake, and the development is contrary to LDP polices SP 13 and SP 16.”

He concluded: “… the benefits of a low-impact development do not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside having regard to the provisions of the development plan.”

Councillor Rob Lewis, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning welcomed the Inspector’s decision.

“Planning is a rigorous process with clear guidelines and if it is to be enforced fairly must also be upheld by everyone,” he said.

“A retrospective planning application has been submitted and it will be considered on its merits.”



edit:

Burra Maluca wrote:There's an e-petition out to try to save it - here's the link. Save the Hobbit-Hole petition



Well, that's a bummer, petitions only open to UK residents (or at least my US zipcode was invalid as a postcode)
 
Lyvia Dequincey
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Very sad.
I don't know how the UK compares to the US, but the homeowners associations here are a really mixed lot. It's absolutely crazy to give a committee of volunteers the power to put liens on a house or tear down construction.

It actually sounds like they should stall and gather more doc on the septic and such.

So the front lot line is a really good place for a dense dense hedge. Now to design the batcave door.
 
S Carreg
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This is 15 minutes away from me, and I don't know them personally but we have mutual friends. It is a really sad story and I hope that they can win retroactive planning permission on appeal (other roundhouses in the area have won retroactive permission after 15+ years of fighting with the planners). And while I understand why they did what they did, in some respects, I can't help but feel that if you're going to build a home without even attempting to apply for permission when that is necessary, then you need to be prepared that someone might come and enforce the rules as they stand. I don't think the rules as they stand are ideal, but I don't think they are evil either. I know people who have struggled with planners, I also know lots of people who have 'played the game', applied properly, and been granted persmission even for quite unusual things.
 
Jessica Gorton
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There's a petition floating around on facebook that's open to those of us in the US. Let's see if I can find it (it's through change.org)
 
Jessica Gorton
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S Carreg
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Please sign the last one posted (the Change.org one) - that is the 'official' one set up by Charlie and Meg and they're trying to get people to all sign the same one.
 
Burra Maluca
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As I remember, it is possible to be granted a special sort of planning permission where the current occupiers can continue to live in the house, but no-one else can. This makes the house unsellable, but lets it stand for the lifetime of the occupiers. I wonder if this would be a possibility in this case?
 
S Carreg
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I think that was the deal that Ben Law struck to get permission for his woodland house, it does vary very much area by area.

Pembrokeshire planning is complicated, but does offer opportunities that other parts of the UK don't - you can build your own home even in protected areas provided you can make a living off the land - this is tightly defined but I believe it's 90% of your 'income' - income being further defined, and I don't remember the specifics, but it basically consists of providing for your basic food needs and raising cash, so for example there are people in Lammas eco-village (right up the road from that house) who are mostly self-sufficient, and also sell vegetables and herbs, Tony Wrench who pioneered the eco-roundhouse movement at Brithdir close by, who makes a living managing the woodland and doing wood turning, etc.

As I say, it is complicated and it's not ideal but there is scope to do a lot of amazing things, if you work with the planners. I also know of cases where people have applied and been turned down on what seem like eminently reasonable applications. I just don't think that merely because it's complicated and you might get turned down, is a reason to just ignore it and hope you don't get caught -especially if you're not the sort of person who's willing to shrug it off and move on.

I do hope that they can find a way to keep their beautiful home though.
 
Burra Maluca
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S Carreg wrote: you can build your own home even in protected areas provided you can make a living off the land - this is tightly defined but I believe it's 90% of your 'income' - income being further defined, and I don't remember the specifics, but it basically consists of providing for your basic food needs and raising cash


In Ceredigion I think the guidelines were 'a living income' which was interpreted as 10,000 pounds a year. That was a few years back though and I don't know how things have changed.
 
S Carreg
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I believe it's in that ballpark in Pembs as well, but there are complicated calculations, I think for example if you are self-sufficient in food then you don't also have to raise the full 9K in cash. Anyway, if you read the refusal posted earlier in this post, you see that because they didn't apply for permission through the proper route, they effectively haven't proven that they are living a low-impact and sustainable lifestyle in this house - they've just said that they are but provided no evidence. I don't think it is fair, when other friends of mine in the area are jumping through all the hoops to do it - keeping track of every bag of calendula heads that they sell, etc - that someone else should build whatever they want and then say 'no, trust us, we're totally sustainable' and expect no problems.
 
Burra Maluca
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S Carreg wrote:I don't think it is fair, when other friends of mine in the area are jumping through all the hoops to do it - keeping track of every bag of calendula heads that they sell, etc - that someone else should build whatever they want and then say 'no, trust us, we're totally sustainable' and expect no problems.


If they've applied for retrospective planning permission, then as far as I know they will have to now jump through all the same hoops as anyone else. I also believe that the permission has to be processed 'without prejudice', ie the council can't hold it against them that they didn't jump the the hoops at the start of the process.
 
Logan Simmering
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A couple things, this dosn't seem to be an issue of building codes per se, so much as an issue of building on land not approved for residential (or other) development which somewhat begs the question of why you can buy land you cant use in the first place... Also, these kind of restriictions are kind of silly, as the UK is a lot less crowded then it might appear at first glance. something like 80% of the population lives on something like 20% of the land, with the rest belonging to a handfull of semi-private families (the aristocracy) and being largely undeveloped save for some tennent farmers. Now there is some value in restricting sprawl and encouraging high density development to maintain rural areas, but this obviously needs to be flexible enough to actually allow for people to use the land productivly
 
Brian Knight
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And as for the original hobbit house, its a beautiful picture and I love the look of the interior. BUT, the framing appears to be very undersized. It looks to be one snowstorm or windstorm away from catastrophic failure in my opinion.
 
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