Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Couple strive to save 'hobbit' home

Charlie Hague and Megan Williams built a dream home in Pembrokeshire which could have been purpose-built for Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins
Charlie Hague and Megan Williams built a dream home in Pembrokeshire which could have been purpose-built for Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins

A young couple who secretly built a Hobbit-like home in time for the birth of their son are fighting to keep it from being torn down.

Charlie Hague and Megan Williams, both 25, built a rural dream home with the help of family and friends in picturesque Pembrokeshire.

Constructed last summer, the wooden roundhouse, with a rickety front porch and turf roof, could have been purpose-built for Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins. But the west Wales retreat, which cost £15,000 to build, could be demolished because the couple failed to apply for permission to build it.

They are appealing against an enforcement notice which describes the property as "harmful to the rural character of the locality". They have also applied to Pembrokeshire County Council for a retrospective planning permission which would save their home.

The property, built on private land in Glandwr, near Whitland, was completed just weeks before the birth of the couple's first son, Eli. Prior to that they lived together in a mobile home on the site which is owned by Mr Hague's parents.

Mr Hague is a sculptor and woodworker who uses locally sourced timber and wood from his own land to work with. A Facebook page set up to showcase their eco-friendly home has attracted hundreds of supporters since news of their plight emerged. The couple acknowledge that the house was knowingly built without planning permission. But they argue it was the only way they could afford a home of their own.

Mr Hague told the Western Telegraph: "We built this house to provide our son with a healthy environment to grow up in. We were born in the area, went to school here, and have lived here all our lives. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Partner Megan added: "I know it's not a possibility for everyone, and our situation here is unique, but if young people are to live and work in the area they need somewhere to live."

More than 1,400 people have so far visited the Facebook page "Charlie and Meg's Roundhouse" to express support or a liking for their home. One wrote: "You have created such a beautiful house. Best of luck in your battle against the idiocies of the planning department!"

A spokeswoman for Pembrokeshire County Council said: "An enforcement notice has been served on this property as it is alleged that an unauthorised dwelling has been built in open countryside without planning permission. It is currently the subject of an enforcement appeal."

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