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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Roundhouse couple fined 800
The house at Brithdir Mawr
The house was built in 1997 without planning permission
A couple who built a roundhouse in the Pembrokeshire National Park without planning permission have each been fined 400 for failing to demolish it.

Tony Wrench and Jane Faith have been living in the eco-friendly house at Brithdir Mawr for seven years.

The park authority has repeatedly refused retrospective planning permission for the building.

At Swansea Crown Court on Friday, the pair were fined for not complying with an enforcement order to take it down.

But after the case, Mr Wrench said he would remain in the roundhouse for the time being.

"If the park authority decides to act and to come on to our land to demolish the roundhouse, they will have to think again," he said.

"I don't think the authority will want to pull the house down given the huge publicity that would bring."

Tony Wrench
Tony Wrench fought to keep the house

He also said he hoped a review of planning policy for low- impact housing may allow him to reapply for planning permission.

During the trial, Judge Keith Thomas said he thought the reasons for building the roundhouse were highly commendable but that planning regulations were necessary for the functioning of society.

The National Park Authority has said it will now take legal advice on how to proceed.

Mr Wrench had admitted not removing the building during a hearing at Haverfordwest magistrates' court last month.

The house has been at the centre of protests by Mr Wrench's supporters, who want the authority to back down and let it stay.

Protesters staged a march and picket outside the park authority's headquarters in Haverfordwest in April.

Demolition demanded

The turf-covered, solar-powered roundhouse was built in 1997 in the Brithdir Mawr community, which is aiming for self-sufficiency and sustainability.

Protesters converged on the building and occupied it last Easter when they feared it would be pulled down, while other supporters set up camp at the ancient hill fort Castell Henllys, near Newport.

The park authority only became aware of the house on its land in 1998 and has demanded its demolition ever since.

Authority officials said the case had gone through proper planning procedures, and was the subject of exhaustive discussions, but maintained that it broke their planning policy.

They said a home could not be built in the park unless there was a real need.

Picket ends to save eco-house
14 Apr 04  |  Wales
Eco house owner gives up fight
17 Feb 04  |  South West Wales
Battle lost for eco-house
19 Sep 02  |  Wales

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