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.
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’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 Kelly calls Evolutionary Architecture and what Ben Law teaches to architects who want to learn about sustainable natural building.
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.Sincerely,On Charlie and Megan‘s behalf, THANK YOU.