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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Eco-protesters halt demolition
Tony Wrench
Tony Wrench : does not want to break the law
Protesters have persuaded builders of a grass-covered eco house in west Wales to temporarily halt demolition.

Tony Wrench and Jane Faith have faced years of legal battles since building the house at Brithdir Mawr near Newport, Pembrokeshire.

On Friday they decided enough was enough and said they would pull it down over the Easter weekend.

But a group of more than 100 protesters determined to see the roundhouse survive converged at the dwelling on Saturday and refused to leave.

They had camped on Friday night in Newport and marched to Brithdir Mawr, singing and chanting as they went.

Many have decided to squat in the roundhouse, and Mr Wrench has said he has no plans to move them.

"I don't want to break the law," he said, "but, on the other hand, I am most reluctant to pull it down at the moment."

protesters marching to Brithdir
The campaigners sang songs as they marched
Others have set up camp at at the ancient hill fort Castell Henllys, near Newport.

The solar-powered house was constructed without planning permission in 1997. Pembrokeshire National Park Authority - on whose land the house lies - has demanded its demolition since it became aware of it in 1998.

Members of Chapter 7 - an organisation which provides planning advice to so-called low impact builders - vowed to prevent the dismantling of the house.

"We think it's a great house and we'd like to see it kept up," said member Simon Fairlie.

"It's important because there are a lot of people who are in exactly the same situation."

In a statement, the Pembrokeshire National Park Authority said the matter had gone through proper planning procedure and had been discussed exhaustively.

The roundhouse stands at Brithdir Mawr - a community of about 20 people which aims to work towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.

The village was only discovered by the authorities in 1998 after solar panels on one of the homes were seen glinting in the sun by a pilot surveying the park.

The house at Brithdir Mawr
The house was built in 1997 without planning permission
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, it was decided to pull down the roundhouse.

The park authority has always maintained that although it was committed to the environment, the roundhouse contravened its planning policy.

It insisted that a dwelling could not be built in the park unless there is a real need, because it could open the floodgates to other developments.

Eco house owner gives up fight
17 Feb 04  |  South West Wales
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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