27 Aug 2007

lets live like Hobbits

You know that 90% of everything with the word green in front of it is BS when you learn the story of Tony Wrench's eco house, every where people live wasteful lives and the spin is brought into justify bad practices for the planet and those who live in a really green world face persecution.

The planners after a long battle voted to demolish Tony's eco house in Pembrokeshire,Wales.

Read more about how to live like Tony' here.

the permaculture people have some notes on how to support Tony here
Latest blow for Tony Wrench's roundhouse.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority committee sat on July 18th 2007 and voted 7-4 to refuse permission, and the dwelling now faces demolition once again.

See The Times (July 30, 2007) report at http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article2163910.ece

See more information about That Roundhouse at their own website.

I also found this

To Whom it may concern:

I have followed with more than passing interest the saga of Tony Wrench and Jane Faith and their efforts to save their charming, low-impact Roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr in Wales. I have been the Director and chief instructor at Earthwood Building School in West Chazy, New York for over 20 years. Our own home, Earthwood, built in 1981 has much in common with the Roundhouse: It is a round, earth-sheltered and earth-roofed home with cordwood masonry walls. We also derive our electricity for solar panels and heat with wood, thus making use of renewable resources for energy.

Our home has spawned dozens of similar homes throughout North America. Yet, I must say that in many respects, the Roundhouse built by Mr. Wrench is superior: His home was built at lower cost. It was built almost entirely of natural and recycled materials. When the Roundhouse finally gives up its ghost -- which, if allowed to stand, will be many many years into the future – the home will recede gracefully into the landscape from which, like Adam from clay, it was born.

British houses built before the advent of Portland cement and concrete share that characteristic. Ancient half-timbered, cob, thatch-roofed homes, and stone buildings all have in common that they do not negatively impact upon the earth when their day is done. Compare this to modern homes, still being approved by planners, which are loaded with non-renewable, non-recyclable materials; materials, in fact, with high embodied energy costs.

I lived seven years in Scotland and so became familiar with many of the admirable intents of British planning regulations. One of the foremost and most admirable of these intents has been to retain the visual amenity of the countryside. I wish that the United States took even half as much care as the British in this regard. The Roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr, which I have visited, with its earth roof and earth-sheltered walls has absolutely the minimal impact on the visual amenity of the countryside. I have lectured on earth-sheltered housing at the Universities of Edinburgh and Birmingham, and have addressed the British Earth Sheltering Association at their AGM in Coventry, and it seems to me that to truely minimize visual impact, all new houses in the countryside should be required to be earth-sheltered, like the home of Mr. Wrench and Jane Faith.

The current disposition of the Roundhouse case is more than misguided and unfortunate, it is a step backward for British planning intents.

I have a strong interest in stone circles and have written a major book on the subject. At nearby Castle Henlys, we see reconstructed examples of round houses which would have been close to the kind of housing prevalent in Neolithic times. Evidence for such homes is rare, precisely because they return gently to the landscape as housing should. We are only temporary custodians of the earth. As stewards, we must build low-impact structures, not energy-consuming, energy expensive homes which destroy their original footprint upon the land. Again, the Roundhouse shows that such a goal is not only possible, but that, within its walls, people are living a gentled-down lifestyle which should be held as exemplary. Uniquely in Britain, to my knowledge, they demonstrate the kind of sustainable lifestyle of the Neolithic peoples. Yet they are not Neolithic people, nor is it their intent to become so. They live a much healthier lifestyle, not only compared with the stone circle builders, but in comparison with 90% of the British population.

What is to be gained by destroying the home of Tony Wrench and Jane Faith? I can think of nothing. Who will house them? Where? And how can they hope to find a housing situation that provides the same comfort and aesthetics, the same low environmental impact, the same grace and joy? So why does this case proceed to its most illogical conclusion? All I can think of is that someone does not like the idea of a reversal, which they fear might be seen as showing that Tony Wrench knows more about sustainability than they do. But I am certain that if it finally comes to the Roundhouse being destroyed, that very action and the publicity that it generates will make a stronger statement of support for the higher principles espoused by Mr. Wrench. The action will not end the real matters and issues here. It will further them.

The Roundhouse has appeared as inspiration to others in the Continental Cordwood Conference Papers of 1999; in Mr. Wrench’s own fine book, Building a Low Impact Round House; and – whether it is still standing or not - will be featured as a chapter in my own upcoming book, Cordwood Construction: The State of the Art (New Society Publishers, British Columbia, January, 2003).

Let us hope that Britain, and Wales in particular, do not take a backward step in good planning practice by causing the destruction of this family’s sensible home. Rather, the planning authority should look forward, realizing that we must turn the corner towards sustainable development.

Work with Tony Wrench and Jane Faith, not against them. They are valuable resources, as is the home they have created. They are true planetary patriots, the only kind worth a lick of salt. They know some stuff.


Rob Roy, Director

Earthwood Building School

366 Murtagh Hill Road

West Chazy, NY 12992


Why not show your support?

If you also want to send a letter about this latest blow to the Roundhouse
to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, then the address is:

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Llanion Park,
Pembroke Dock,
Wales, UK
SA72 6DY

Note that it's easy to see the PCNPA as the bad guys - they recently backed down over using herbicide to destroy bracken on Carn Ingli Common (an SSSI), an idea encouraged on them by the Graziers Association. They backed down because of MASSIVE PROTEST at this inappropriate action.


Gabriel said...

I try and live in an ecologically conscious way, but I fear that capitalism itself is inherently unfriendly to the environment..I must say that I find the blog most interesting and I shall be bookmarking it for further visits.

I hope some of your readers will visit my blog 'An Unrepentant Communist'..


Greetings to you all from County Kerry in Ireland

Derek Wall said...

you are not wrong about capitalism!

enjoyed your blog as well, happy birthday Hegel....

Anonymous said...

This is another classic example of the ppowers that be enforcing convention, whilst payig mere lip service to green issues.

Oliver said...

Tought you might like to know Tony Wrench is leading a low impact roundhouse workshop in Poland, July 2010

Details at: http://greenhamlet.com?whatson

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