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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 February, 2004, 13:23 GMT
Eco house owner gives up fight
The house at Brithdir Mawr
The house was built in 1998 without planning permission
One of Britain's most committed supporters of sustainable living has given up his five-year fight to live in a grass-roofed Lord of the Rings-style house.

Tony Wrench built the eco-friendly roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr, near Newport, Pembrokeshire, in 1998.

But he did not get planning permission and has been fighting with the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority, which wants it demolished.

Following a prosecution in January by the park authority in which Mr Wrench and three other roundhouse owners were ordered to pay a fine totalling 1,000, he has now decided to give up.

The park authority has always maintained that the roundhouse must be removed as it contravenes planning policy.

Mr Wrench said prosecutions by the park authority forced him to abandon his struggle.

"We were prosecuted and the magistrates gave us very low fines. Three days later the parks said they were going to prosecute again," he said.

I can't afford to be prosecuted any more and I have got to respect the law
Tony Wrench

"And they are determined just to keep prosecuting us with the option of direct action. I can't afford to be prosecuted any more and I have got to respect the law.

"We have had hundreds of visitors, well probably thousands by now," said Mr Wrench.

Tony Wrench
Tony Wrench has decided to dismantle his home
"But we have never been able to speak to the planning committee and they have never made a site visit.

"So there are members of the committee who have never seen this place who are still making decisions to pull it down," he said.

Mr Wrench believes that his environmentally-friendly way of living could be a solution for many young people in Pembrokeshire priced out of the housing market.

The park authority said although it was committed to the environment, the roundhouse went against its planning policy.

It said no matter how sustainable it was, a dwelling could not be built in the park unless there is a real need, because it could open the floodgates to other developments.

Mr Wrench, who will start dismantling his house in April, said: "We may be losing the battle but I think we will win the war.

"If we don't win the basic long-term struggle for good sustainable homes then our civilisation is in severe trouble.

"It already is with global warming and this has come like a lifeboat really.

"An ordinary person free of water and sewage and electric mains and to build with local materials something they can use as a shelter - who knows, they might need it in future," he added.




SEE ALSO:
Fine for roundhouse owners
26 Jan 04  |  South West Wales
Move to raze eco-house
23 Apr 03  |  South West Wales
Battle lost for eco-house
19 Sep 02  |  Wales


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