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

 
Posts: 47
Location: S.W. Washington State
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Ha ha, on edit, I only saw the first page and had no idea what was deleted, or that this had been done at all. I will leave what I wrote, as it is heartfelt. It was partially in reaction to the post that dissed the strength of the framing. What I see is structure with plenty of strength, depending on the sureness of the fastening.

How can this whole thread not be foundation for a debate? How should good people react to that article? Pull down the whole thing and forget much more participation from yours truly if reactions to such an injustice don't bring welcomed reaction.


================================

What I wrote before my edit:

Natural wood, in the round, has strength that sawn boards do not. All the grain is continuous and conical. This strength would not be approved under codes written to the economic needs of building materials industry lobbies who have guided the legislative processes which gave us these codes.

Humans should be given all possible latitude to provide their own shelter. This should be a basic right. We've had too much of government, of the people, by the corporations, for the rich.


Ancient Chinese Proverb:

When mankind loses sight of the way to live, laws are made.
 
Bob Louis
Posts: 47
Location: S.W. Washington State
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Reading further along, talk of a one-time habitation and no resale got me to remembering when certain Northern California counties used building codes to evict the dirty hippies from houses they'd built for themselves in the '70s. I did much the same sort of construction in Washington State in that time, salvaging old buildings for my materials. One of the people evicted had ties to then Governor Brown, and hence, these people realized a small prayer for change. California enacted, with the governor's support, what was called the, "Class K," code. It allowed for the owner built home, providing that only sanitary and electrical codes were observed. It permitted the resale of such buildings, "as is," and so, any buyer would know what he or she was purchasing. I endeavored to have Class K accepted here and failed. The moneyed interests are strong.

(I believe I learned of Class K in that revolutionary screed of the '70s {before it became hopelessly commercialized}: Mother Earth News)
 
author
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I dont understand why it is not completely appropriate for this thread to involve people sharing their personal experiences of building codes, and individuals to providing for their own shelter?

I will restate that I have chosen to live in a county without Building Codes. There are pros and cons, but I like that decision. I believe that discussing my experience with that reality, is useful for others contemplating the decision about where and how to live.

I apreciate the desire to keep things apolitical, that is a good thing holistically. Discussing our personal experiences should not be subject to deletion, IMHO.
 
Bob Louis
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Location: S.W. Washington State
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Listening to Paul W. interviewed about wofati and he just stated that he chose his location because of a lack of building code enforcement.

There was none where I am now, and the changes of 40 years are about to drive me away. I long dreamed of the house I was to someday build here. Now that I could afford to do it, it could not be permitted. I think maybe I'll move to Idaho or Montana and let this place slide under the radioactive Pacific Ocean.
 
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Burra Maluca wrote: Any post that refers directly to a post that has been removed will also be removed. We also remove any post that suggests that any other member is less than perfect, or demands 'proof' of anything, or accuses anyone of faulty logic


Politics and debate aside, there was quite a bit of "You are significantly less than perfect" going on, and unfortunately once it starts...

 
Posts: 554
Location: Asheville NC
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Leila is right and I would like to apologize to everyone as I definitly took it too far. We all have more in common than we dont.

Tough to discuss a political issue without getting too political but it seems the main beef is that people feel they should build what they want on their own property which is quite understandable.

I dont think there is anywhere in the country that an owner is not allowed to build their own home. Its a fundamental right and while some jurisdictions make it difficult and more expensive, that goes for everyone including builders and I guess thats the price we pay to live in desirable locations.

Ive always thought building above code is something that people strived for and were proud of. I know that some of the techniques championed by this site fall outside of what codes typcially allow but there is also room in the system to build whatever the combination of imagination and physics could allow. It sometimes requires more effort, planning and money but this is true for any great structure built throughout the ages.

Building codes make buildings safer from floods, snow events, earthquakes and major storms along with all the daily mundane things like pooping, going up and down stairs, plugging in a computer and burning a cozy fire. They help preserve finite resources for generations to come and protect a society that is constantly changing locations and exchanging property.

I do feel bad for the builder of the hobbit house, the evacuated hippies and anyone else who has had authority tear down their creations. I just think there has to be balance and the system we have while not perfect, works pretty good.
 
pollinator
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Brian - this house was not in America, it is in the UK. You can't generalise from the laws in one country to those in another.

The issue with this particular home was not that they built it themselves, but they didn't use the system that is in place to seek planning permission. The planning system in the UK is not expensive to use (i'm going through it at the moment) and is generally suportive of sustainable builds. Building codes did not come into this decision as far as I can see.
 
pollinator
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I'm with Paul , planning permission in the UK is no great secret and its no great secret that if you build a house without it you will be made to pull it down.
Its not difficult to get once zoning permittion has been given

David
 
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For clarity this is what they violated (the Joint Unitary Development Plan)

Edit: oops, that's just the table of contents, here's the actual document.

Edit 2: relevant section (I think, the plan is quite long)

Policy 48 Housing Development in the Countryside

The development of a new dwelling in the countryside will only be permitted if
:i) it is for occupation by an agricultural or forestry worker and evidence is submitted which demonstrates that it is essential for the person to live at, or very close to their place of work;
and ii) there has been no prior disposal of a dwelling which could have been used to meet this need;
and iii) there is no suitable alternative residential accommodation available in the area in nearby towns and villages or by making use of existing buildings on site.
5.4.25 This policy aims to protect the landscape quality of the countryside from the harmful intrusion of
unnecessary, sporadic building development; reduce the need to travel by car and to economise
on the provision of services. This restriction on new development in the countryside is one of the
fundamental principles of national planning policy. Isolated new homes in the countryside require
special justification as it is acknowledged that in certain limited cases such as in relation to farming
or forestry it will be essential that workers live on the land where they work. In assessing such
Joint Unitary Development Plan for Pembrokeshire – Adopted June/July 2006
_____________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________
63
cases the Authorities will refer to the guidance in TAN 6. Where a need is established, the siting of the new dwelling should, wherever feasible, be part of a complex of buildings on the site, and be
well related to its surroundings in terms of scale, design and materials. Through the use of conditions occupation of the dwelling will be limited e.g. to a person solely, or mainly working or last working in the locality in agriculture, or forestry, or a widow or widower of such a person, and to any resident dependants, or other person who can satisfactorily demonstrate an essential need. Evidence that the necessary accommodation cannot be provided in a nearby village, through the
conversion of a building, or within existing premises, needs to be provided before an application for a new dwelling will be considered. In exceptional circumstances an essential dwelling for a worker in employment other than forestry or agriculture, but requiring a rural location, may be permitted. 5.4.26 In assessing need, all applications should clearly demonstrate that the enterprise is economically
viable or that a proposed enterprise has been planned on a sound financial basis and to provide evidence of the size of dwellings which the unit can sustain. It should be note d that in situations where areas of land are sold separately from a holding there is no guarantee permission will be given for a new dwelling



Policy 52 Low Impact Development
making a Positive Contribution

Low impact development that makes a positive
contribution will only be permitted where:
i) the proposal will make a positive environmental, social and/or economic contribution with public benefit; and
ii) all activities and structures on site have low impact in terms of the environment and use of resources; and
iii) opportunities to reuse buildings which are available in the proposal’s area of operation have been investigated and shown to be impracticable; and
iv) the development is well integrated into the landscape and does not have adverse visual effects; and
v) the proposal requires a countryside location and is tied directly to the land on which it is located, and involves agriculture, forestry or horticulture; and
vi) the proposal will provide sufficient livelihood for and substantially meet the needs of residents on the site; and
vii) the number of adult residents should be directly related to the functional requirements of the enterprise; and
viii) in the event of the development involving members of more than one family, the proposal will be managed and controlled by a trust, co-operative or other similar
mechanism in which the occupiers have an interest.
5.4.42 Sustainable Development has emerged as the overarching objective of the planning system in the last decade. This policy provides a context for permitting development in the countryside which
contributes to that agenda (see paragraph 2.2.3National & Regional Section of the Plan) as an exception to normal planning policy, where the proposals are tied directly to the land and the
proposal provides sufficient livelihood for the occupants. 5.4.43 Proof that there is a positive contribution from the development in terms of the environment, the use
of resources, and a combination of social/economic benefits will be needed. Public benefits might include providing services to the community. Proof that the proposals will achieve a neutral or at
least the lowest possible adverse impact for each part of the government’s sustainability agenda must be submitted.
5.4.44 To this end any proposal will have to submit an integrated site management plan, biodiversity and landscape character assessment together with a business and improvement plan and sustainability
action plan for the site. These will detail the activities and structures on site and the environmental management of the site as well as sustainability objectives to be achieved by the development. The
Business Improvement Plan will also provide evidence of the functional needs of the enterprise and financial information as to the likely returns to be achieved. It will be necessary to establish that the
land use activities proposed are able to financially support the occupants. The applicants will be expected to enter into a S106 agreement relating to the continued operation of the site, based upon
the site management plan.
5.4.45 SPG will be prepared, setting out a step by step approach to considering proposals under this policy. The guidance will include a comprehensive checklist of sustainability design and construction
matters to be included in any assessment. A checklist will include the requirements for development and associated activities to:
• be of a scale appropriate to the site and the enterprise proposed;
• accord with sustainable construction and design principles;
• use materials which are natural, renewable, recycled and where possible locally sourced;
• incorporate comprehensive measures to minimise energy use, light pollution and waste production; and
• be capable of easily being dismantled and removed from the site and the site restored to an
appropriate state in accordance with the terms set out in the management plan.
5.4.46 In advance of preparing SPG the report ‘Low Impact Development – Further Research’ will be used
as interim supplementary guidance to inform the application of this policy.
5.4.47 Within the National Park developments must demonstrate themselves to be compatible and not
adversely effect the special qualities of the National Park landscape (Policy 5 & 67)



Now, based on what we know about their home, they should be able to get permission based on these criteria, but as I understand it they didn't actually try...

*shrug* hopefully they'll get their retroactive permission.
 
Bob Louis
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Location: S.W. Washington State
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With a shrinking livable land-base, more lands moving into the domains an ever greater international corporate empire with each passing day, and whole cities abandoned in some parts, it is indeed a pity, while the codes pretend to protect us from so many things, homelessness is not on their list. But then, I've spent the best years of my 66 in homemade houses. I'd even like to do it again, but I'm being priced out of the market, even in a county without a single traffic light, where I've been for 40 years.
 
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From the article:

Mr Lloyd’s report stated: 'The character and appearance of the countryside should be protected for its intrinsic sake.

'The benefits of a low-impact development do not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.'


_______

Strange comment if it is just about getting permission from planning.



 
Logan Simmering
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Glenn Coie wrote:From the article:

Mr Lloyd’s report stated: 'The character and appearance of the countryside should be protected for its intrinsic sake.

'The benefits of a low-impact development do not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.'


_______

Strange comment if it is just about getting permission from planning.





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.”



SP 13 Settlement Boundaries

Settlement boundaries are defined for Hub Towns, Rural Towns, Service Centres, and Service Villages, where market and local needs affordable housing will be permitted. Within Large Local Villages, Settlement Boundaries are defined indicating locations where market housing and local needs affordable housing will be permitted. Within Small Local Villages, Settlement Boundaries are defined indicating where local needs affordable housing will be permitted.

Linked key issues: ALL

This strategic policy will contribute towards achieving Objective(s): A, C, D, I and J

5.63 Settlement Boundaries define the areas that have a physical, functional and visual connection to a settlement. A Settlement Boundary ensures that development takes place in sustainable locations and the natural environment is protected. For most types of development the most appropriate location is within a Settlement Boundary, although in some cases there will be justication for an edge-of-settlement or countryside location. The general policies will clarify locations considered acceptable for specific land-uses. Development proposals for housing in the Hub Towns, Rural Towns, Service Centres and Service Villages will be expected to take into account, in the mix of housing type, size and tenure, the increasing numbers of single person households and the ageing population.



http://ldp.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/php/ViewDocument.php?para_pk=8138&doc_pk=18



SP 16 The Countryside

Within the Countryside development will meet the essential requirements of people who live and work in the countryside whilst protecting Pembrokeshire’s landscape and natural and built environment, by promoting:

1. Appropriate development which minimises visual impact on the landscape and respects the natural and built environment;

2. Enterprises for which a countryside location is essential;

3. Opportunities for rural enterprise workers to be housed in suitable accommodation that supports their employment57; and

4. The re-use of appropriate existing buildings.

Linked key issues: ALL

This strategic policy will contribute towards achieving Objective(s): A, C, D, E, G, I and J

5.81 All locations outside the Settlement Boundaries are considered to be countryside. Generally, national and local planning policies restrict residential development in areas defined as being in the countryside to those whose employment requires them to live in close proximity to their place of work in the countryside. Criteria for such proposals are established by national policy. In some instances conversions of traditional buildings in the countryside into residential use will be permitted where it means a traditional building of significant historic and/or architectural merit, which might otherwise be lost, is conserved and used. The building must be physically capable of accommodating the new use with minimal alteration to the original structure. Converting non traditional buildings may be acceptable for employment uses.

5.82 New business development proposals within the countryside will need to demonstrate that a countryside location is essential for their business. Existing businesses will be supported by allowing extensions where appropriate. Where development has to take place to meet the essential requirements of people who live and work in the countryside, it is important that the visual impact of any development is minimised.

5.83 National Policy enables One Planet Developments to take place where they are zero carbon in construction and use and achieve an ecological footprint of 2.4 global hectares per person or less in terms of consumption and demonstrate clear potential to move towards 1.88 global hectare target over time.

5.84 Pembrokeshire has a range of important environments and landscapes, some of which are shown on the Proposals Maps as nature designations. In addition to the specific environments that are protected by a range of designations, there are a number of non designated landscapes, woodlands, hedgerows, trees and species that occur across the Plan area and contribute to making Pembrokeshire a special place. Some of the species found in Pembrokeshire are of significant value to the area’s ecology including European protected species such as bats, otters, dormice and the marsh fritillary butterfly.

5.85 Pembrokeshire’s outstanding natural and historic environments are part of what attracts huge numbers of visitors every year and are a valuable resource for the County as a whole. As well as being a working environment the countryside offers a range of diverse recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. This Plan aims to protect the countryside and manage its use, so that these important elements can be provided.

5.86 There are many challenges in maintaining a strong natural and historic environment whilst ensuring that other key objectives in the Plan such as providing housing or building on the County’s strategic location for energy and port related development are met. General policies on development will ensure that these challenges are managed successfully.

57 See also Technical Advice Note 6, section 4 (July 2010)



http://ldp.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/php/ViewDocument.php?para_pk=8141&doc_pk=18

From what I can gather, the objection seems to be that they built the home in the countryside, without first demonstrating that they meet the requirements that sites outside designated settlements be involved in making a living off the land. presumably, if they are indeed living a homesteading lifestyle, they'll be able to this in the retroactive planning phase.
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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As someone with experiance in such matters I can tell you that it will be very difficult unless you can show you have a viable amount of land to farm or otherwise use .
Britain has no history of home steading rather the reverse .
See the diggers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diggers
Also the highland clearances http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances

David
 
Bob Louis
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Location: S.W. Washington State
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At the time I purchased my nine acres of alder trees, it was zoned as timberland and the property taxes were next to nothing. By tax time in the next cycle, the state had passed a law that no parcel under 20 acres could be zoned as timberland, and my assessment increased 1000%. Whose interests were served by that? (Classic bait and switch.)

Meanwhile, on "timberland" a half a mile from me, a Halliburton served hydraulic fracturing test well has gone in and found gas. John Hancock Timber (owned by Canadian mega-corp, Manulife Financial) is about to clearcut and spray herbicides around three sides of my land, topsoil and poisons will be running off into three creeks. All this while one of these three creeks is two feet wide running on my property and now requires me to observe a 250 foot setback for me to build my house, making my prime building site off limits to me. We'll see how many feet the logging and spraying gives this creek (bet on a maximum of 50 feet).

Don't call it politics, call it corruption.
 
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Hi Folks,

this is my first post, and it´s good news: Hobbit home is saved (after roughly 2 years from the start of this thread):

Press article in The Guardian


Cheers
Ralf
 
Posts: 27
Location: Oregon
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I love to see such creatively beautiful living spaces such as this. Bravo!
 
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