Pembrokeshire says this home is “harmful to the rural character of the locality” and must be demolished.

Charlie, who built this beautiful straw bale roundhouse, is a young man with a young family and like many finds it impossible to afford a home. In Charlie’s case he had three things going for him. First his father owns a big enough plot of land for Charlie to build a home. Second, the land was right next door to Lammas ecoVillage in Wales where there is plenty of natural building experience, inspiration and community spirit to help Charlie.

Finally, 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.

Hundertwasser the famous architect, designer and artist wrote, “The individual’s desire to build something should not be deterred! Everyone should be able and have to build and thus be truly responsible for the four walls in which he lives”.

Jon Jandai, Director of Pun Pun Organic Farm said at a TED presentation in Thailand,
“I want to be equal to animals. The bird makes a nest in one or two days; the rat digs a hole in one night, but clever humans like us spend 30 years to have a house… that’s wrong.”

Charlie’s home is designed from the resources available on the land rather than by an architect who then asks, “right here’s the design, where are we going to get the resources?”

This method of building is what SunRay Kellycalls Evolutionary Architecture and what Ben Law teaches to architects who want to learn about sustainable natural building.

It took Charlie a little over a year to build his home with a reciprocal green roof and lime plastered straw bale walls. All in all it cost Charlie about £15,000 ($23,000). Watch this short video from film makers Living in the Future where Charlie tells his story.

A Tour of Charlie's Home

Now Charlie has applied for retrospective planning permission from Pembrokeshire County Council who have decided that this wonderful, unobtrusive, sustainable home should be demolished consigning Charlie, Meg and their child back to their cold and damp caravan.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s enforcement notice says the property is, “harmful to the rural character of the locality” and must be demolished. This is a view of the rural character close to Charlie’s home on Google Street View.

Charlie needs your support for his retrospective planning application. If you feel you can help Charlie and his young family please fill in your name and address details on this online form for 12/1070/PA. In [Role code] select ‘Interested Party’ and in [Nature of response] select ‘Support’.

Finally attach your comments to the form by the closing date of the 4th April 2013. We suggest your attached comment is something along the lines of…

Re: planning application 12/1070/PA.

Dear Claire John, Case Officer

This home is a model for sustainable natural building that blends perfectly into the natural environment. It is not my opinion that this home is harmful to the rural character of the area.


On Charlie and Megan‘s behalf, THANK YOU. Now take a look at the beautiful natural home that you can help save.



4 thoughts on “Pembrokeshire says this home is “harmful to the rural character of the locality” and must be demolished.

  1. The government just wants it destroyed since they didn’t make any money of it. That’s not right, being a young couple and having a young one is expensive in general. Buying a house it expensive so why not build your own like they did. Their home is beautiful why tear it down, I think it adds beauty to the country side.

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