Roundhouse Reprieve

TThe Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, in Wales, has decided not to proceed with an injunction that will force Tony Wrench and Jane Faith to demolish their celebrated Roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr, in Newport, Pembrokeshire, until their new policy on Low Impact Developments’ comes into force in May 2006.
Tony and Jane based the design of their highly ecological home on Iron Age houses and the work of celebrated American cordwood builder, Rob Roy. They used local Douglas fir, recycled glass and other materials. The house, which was completed in 1997, has a turf roof and makes use of an array of Low Impact’ technology: simple solar water heating, passive solar design, a dry toilet and a photovoltaic panel.
‘What we did was build our own eco-home on a farm being run as a sustainable community, using all the principles of permaculture to give us a home with a one planet’ ecological footprint and right livelihood,’ said Tony. ‘I also designed it to be beautiful and comfortable, so that others might be inspired to do likewise.’
Although this solar powered earth and wood house was originally built without permission, which meant that under statutory planning rules it had to be demolished, they have always had massive public support in its defence.
This is the first time for more than five years that the threat of imminent demolition has been lifted and is a tribute to the sustained support from countless people over the years to urge the authorities to give greater consideration to sustainable lifestyles.
The Roundhouse dwellers, and Emma Orbach, who has a community of straw-bale huts nearby at Tir Ysbrydol, will be putting forward an outline proposal for a low impact settlement within the new policy when it is officially adopted. Until then, they have agreed not to build more roundhouses in the area.
Tony Wrench says: ‘Thanks to all our supporters. We’re extremely relieved about the reprieve. It has been a very instructive process to hold out against rules that have hitherto been taken as unquestioned gospel, and to see how a planning authority can be encouraged to change its policies as a result of people power’ on the ground.’

Contact: Brithdir Mawr community Websites: and
Email: [email protected]
Building a Low Impact Roundhouse
by Tony Wrench. Price £9.95
Published by Permanent Publications
Tel: 01730 823 311

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