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