Tony Wrench's roundhouse - the saga continues...

Mark mark at
Fri Jul 20 16:00:53 BST 2007

The saga continues with tony and jane's roundhouse in Brithdir Mawr, with
Pembrokeshire national park planning committee recommending quite
incredibly that their roundhouse isn't sustainable enough!!!! This is
after new policy guidance for low-impact development was passed. (all
thanks to a personal vendetta from one planning officer seemingly).

Read below from Tony Wrench's website (Ref: ):

UPDATE July 19th 2007
We attended the committee meeting yesterday morning and were allowed to
speak for three minutes. (The first time we have been allowed to address
them since this saga began in 1999.) Several members spoke in our favour -
one being concerned that, after all this negotiation, refusal could be
based on the advice of just one officer. Another acknowledged what I said
about lack of any facts to prove damage, and a third remarked that they
will not be able to learn from experiments in sustainable living unless
they allow some through the net. Our local councillor, Robin Evans, gave a
very disappointing speech in which, despite the advice from the solicitor
that they should ignore the history and concentrate on the planning merits
of this application, he came out with a version of the old argument 'if we
let these people get away with it who is to stop other cases springing up'
as if we are some deadly disease. This was a great shame since his
predecessor Essex Havard was a great advocate for sustainable development
who stood up for us strongly in the early days of this case. In the end
they voted for refusal by 7 votes to 4. So we shall appeal.

On the broader front, I still don't understand it. In this summer's
e-version of The Land magazine (see Chapter 7 in Links page), there is an
article about how few owner-built houses there are in Britain (less than
10%) compared with other countries. In Austria the figure is over 80%,
Italy over 50%.... Do you think the British bureaucrat may feel uneasy at
someone who builds their own house, just like that? Especially if it is a
warm, comfortable, secluded eco-house that only cost £3,000? What if
everyone was allowed to do it? Is that it?

UPDATE July 11th 2007
The Senior Development Management Officer of the Planning Dept of PCNP has
emailed to say that the officers are recommending refusal to the
committee, which sits on Wed 18th July. This house is so beautiful to be
in, and the garden so fruitful and bursting with life of all kinds, that I
still cannot believe that in a world of such environmental spoilation and
with spreading patches of such ugliness, there are still people paid to
work on having this home demolished. The relevant part of the officers'
report, dealing with the ecology officer's assessment of whether we can
sustainably live off and manage our woodlands, can be read here.
What low impact proposal will ever withstand this level of nit-picking?
With an attitude that interprets an organic permaculture garden and reed
bed as "degradation", and the assertion that our carrying out careful
thinning and coppicing of the woods will be "further degradation", it is
clear that they can make up arguments to scupper this policy for ever.
The only sensible reaction to the news I can think of is to go out and
pick some more blackcurrrents...

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