Should this "Hobbit House" be demolished for flouting the planning rules?
There is a lot to love in Charlie's little house, built from straw bale and found wood, with a green roof. There's only one problem; there are planning rules that control development in the Welsh countryside, designed to keep the country from turning into one vast ultra-low-density suburb. There is a long history of people trying to slip a house in under the radar. (see this one where it was built under a hay bale)
It also isn't like Charlie made a mistake; he knew the rules. According to Natural Homes,
Charlie had been living with his partner Megan in a damp caravan for the past 4 years. With a baby on the way Charlie felt he had no choice but to build his house without the approval of the planning authorities, convinced permission for his home would be refused. The lack of affordable homes and strict planning regulations touches many lives.
While there is a history of rich footballers and friends of MPs getting retroactive approval, and while there is actually a "one planet developments" guide that permits low impact designs in the countryside under special conditions, (Like the famous roundhouse nearby), in this case the planners said they have to go.
As of the 1st August 2013 Pembrokeshire County Council's enforcement say the property must be demolished within 2 months because,
"benefits of the development did not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside".
This is a difficult one. It's a lovely little low-impact dwelling, but the fact that Charlie knew that it was not going to get approved up front and that retroactive approval was going to be a risky business. More in Natural Homes, where there is a petition you can sign. What do you think?