Two month death sentence because the, "benefits of the development did not outweigh the harm to the character and appearance of the countryside".


The deadline has passed...

Thanks to all of you Pembrokeshire Council's Facebook Page continues to be inundated with messages of support for Charlie's retrospective planning application. Recently the council have shown some measure of willingness to reconsider their decision. The story is by no means over but there is hope. Here's an update [13th October] from Charlie and Megan,

"Hi, just a quick update for all the folk asking what the latest news is. Currently we're still living in the house and waiting on a decision from Pembrokeshire County Council regarding our retrospective application. We're feeling fairly confident that everything will be OK in the end. We'll update everyone, as soon as we hear anything. These kind of things have been known to drag on for years... in the mean time, life goes on. Thanks for all the words of support! Bless up and get building."


Official petition to save Charle's house


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 natural resources available on the land rather than by building industry professionals that often specify homes using processed materials with high embodied energy.


This method of building is what SunRay Kelly calls 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.


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


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 the rural character close to Charlie's home on Google Street View.


The picture above is a poster you can use in your social circles (at full size) to invite your friends and followers to support Charlie. Follow the buttons to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and/or click the Pinit button to share it with your Pinterest followers.


More articles around the web: BBC & Wales Telegraph & Daily Mail & Telegraph & Turkiye Gazetesi & Wales Online.

A note on planning:

The Welsh government has guidelines for development of settlements in the open countryside called 'One Planet Developments'. This is the Technical Advice Note 6 (PDF 6Mb) Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities, otherwise known as TAN6 with Tony Wrench's roundhouse on the cover which was itself once under demolition threat but was eventually granted planning permission in September 2008.


Charlie Hague & Megan


PLEASE sign the Official Petition to save Charlie's House [released for signatures by Charlie and Megan 5th August 2013]