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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Eco-house battle put on hold
The house at Brithdir Mawr
The authority is adopting a pragmatic approach to a difficult subject, and this indicates no capitulation on our part to the situation
Stephen Watkins, park authority
A lengthy battle over an illegally built eco-friendly house in west Wales is being put on hold for almost a year.

Pembrokeshire National Park Authority will suspend attempts to demolish the roundhouse while a development plan for the entire county is finalised.

It will take no more action until May 2006 so long as no similar houses are built at Brithdir Mawr, near Newport.

Owner Tony Wrench who has lived there for seven years hopes it marks a shift in the authority's stance on the issue.

The solar-powered earth and wood house was built without permission in 1998 but despite several court orders Mr Wrench has refused to knock it down.

Another couple have built a further three roundhouses nearby without planning consent.

The park authority had always maintained that no new homes should be built within the national park unless there were overwhelming reasons to justify it.

Protesters marching to Brithdir
Protesters have campaigned to keep the house

Members repeatedly refused retrospective planning permission but at a county court hearing two months ago a judge urged both parties to consult to try to avoid further litigation.

This week the park authority members decided to suspend injunction proceedings until a development plan for the county was completed.

Drawn-up in partnership with the county council it will lay down in detail which areas of Pembrokeshire can be developed and the type of development allowed.

'Wait and see'

Park authority chairman Stephen Watkins said the move did not mean the roundhouse could stay.

"The authority is adopting a pragmatic approach to a difficult subject, and this indicates no capitulation on our part to the situation."

But Mr Wrench said after years of planning and legal argument he now hoped "there was light at the end of the tunnel".

"We are quite pleased about it and it's going the way we hoped," he added.

Mr Wrench said he was happy to comply with the park's demand there was no more development at the site until next year.

He is hopeful that the county development plan would make provision for low impact housing at Brithdir Mawr.

"We've been arguing for about two years that they might as well wait and see until the development plan is completed," he added.

Roundhouse couple fined 800
25 Jun 04 |  Wales
Picket ends to save eco-house
14 Apr 04 |  Wales

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