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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Eco-house supporters fight demolition
The roundhouse
The roundhouse was built without planning permission
An eco-community in south west Wales has vowed to fight to keep a grass-roofed roundhouse despite a decision on Monday to pull it down.

Planners have confirmed the structure - built by people known as "the lost tribe" - will have to be pulled down in the next six months.

But the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority has approved a plans application for the rest of the environment-friendly site to be used as an education centre.


The roundhouse is still an unauthorised house in the countryside and an enforcement order was approved for it to be taken down

Ifor Jones, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The farm buildings at Brithdir Mawr near Newport, Pembrokeshire, were originally built without planning permission.

They were discovered by a plane carrying out an aerial survey.

The roundhouse structure was given temporary planning permission and allowed to stand while its future was decided.

The park had instructed its owner - Tony Wrench - to demolish the turf-roofed building because it did not conform to strict planning regulations.

A planning inspector described the roundhouse as having "a harmful visual impact".

Tony Wrench
Tony Wrench is exhausting the appeals process

It has also been likened to the home of Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings.

Ifor Jones, head of conservation at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park said: "The education centre was viewed within our farm diversification policy as being welcomed.

"The roundhouse is a separate issue.

"It is still an unauthorised house in the countryside and an enforcement order was approved for it to be taken down."

But Emma Orbach, from Brithdir Mawr said the roundhouse should be kept.

She said: "It has come to symbolise hope for change.

"It has captured the imagination of what we are trying to do here and an example of how to build a house with zero impact on the environment."

Case study

Mr Wrench has appealed against the termination of his temporary planning permission and he will also be able to appeal against the enforcement notice.

Brithdir Mawr is run by a community of about 20 people aiming at sustainability.

It was part of a Welsh Assembly review on low impact development Mr Wrench had asked for planning permission for a further two years until the assembly came to a decision.

Other homes at Brithdir Mawr have been given retrospective planning permission.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Rebecca John
"The roundhouse could be pulled down"

More from south west Wales
See also:

08 Nov 00 | Wales
09 Mar 01 | UK
23 Feb 00 | UK
21 Mar 00 | Wales
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