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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 April, 2004, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
'End of line' for eco-house
The house at Brithdir Mawr
The house was built in 1997 without planning permission
An environmentally-friendly house built from earth and wood is being dismantled this weekend following a planning battle.

The roundhouse, in the Brithdir Mawr community, near Newport, Pembrokeshire, 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 the house in 1998.

Tony Wrench and Jane Faith, who built the roundhouse, have organised a camp for volunteers at Easter weekend during which the house will be pulled down.

A group of protesters has also gathered at Brithdir Mawr to try to win a last-minute reprieve for the solar-powered house.

We think it's a great house and we'd like to see it kept up
Simon Fairlie, Chapter 7

But Ms Faith, who lives in the roundhouse, said the campaign to keep the house had reached its end.

She added: "It's just become too much, we've come to the end of the line.

"We've got over 20 people coming who will be camping.

"We'll start off by having a big sing-song in the house to say goodbye to it.

"Then we have to gently take out the windows and remove all the fixtures and fittings and the roof, take the turf off and so on."

'Faced with eviction'

Simon Fairlie, Chapter 7 - an organisation which provides planning advice to so-called low impact builders - said he hoped to prevent the dismantling of the house.

He said: "On Saturday, we are going to march from Newport up to the gates of Brithdir Mawr and let Tony and Jane know there are a lot of people throughout Wales and England who don't want to see the roundhouse pulled down.

"We think it's a great house and we'd like to see it kept up.

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

Tony Wrench
Tony Wrench will dismantle the house on Easter weekend

"They too are faced with eviction or having to demolish their homes."

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 Brithdir Mawr 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.

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.

'Long-term struggle'

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.

Mr Wrench has previously said that his environmentally-friendly scheme represented a viable future for housing: "We may be losing the battle but I think we will win the war," he said.

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

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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