British couple Charlie Hague and Megan Williams were living in a caravan for “about four years” by Hague’s estimate, but they decided they needed a house when Williams got pregnant. They spent between $15,000 and $23,000 to build a Hobbit house from local materials on his parent’s land.
The structure is made with local wood and straw bales with lime plaster, as well as a grass roof. It’s about 20 feet in diameter, with one bedroom and one bathroom, as seen in the video below. There’s even room for a drum kit, which is an awesome thing to hang on to when you’re broke and living in a caravan for years and then have a newborn.
The problem, other than the fact we don’t have a cool Hobbit house like this one, is that they didn’t get any building permits first. You can probably see where this is going.
Pembrokeshire Council issued a demolition notice, saying the home causes “harm to the character and appearance of the countryside”, and the Planning Inspectorate upheld the ruling on appeal. Which means Hague and Williams have two months to demolish their Hobbit house.
Hague has started a petition at change.org asking the council to grant planning permission retroactively. We’re not sure why a governmental agency in Wales would be interested in anything posted on change.org, but good luck, dude.
We’re having a hard time being sympathetic about this, for a few reasons. First, the amount of money they spent on this could have gone towards a downpayment on a legally-approved dwelling. Second, the petition includes the phrase, “we have simply created shelter as is our human right.” Government workers love it when you say you have the right to build stuff without their silly permits.
Then there’s the video below, in which Hague smiles as he says, “In terms of planning permission, I decided when we started that I wasn’t going to bother trying to get planning permission. It took awhile to convince my dad that that was the way to go, but he kind of knew that he didn’t have much of a chance to go ahead and try to get it. Also, I’ve lived here all my life and built treehouses around here, and it just sort of seems like a bigger version of that.”
So, yeah. They’re probably going to have to demolish the cool Hobbit house after pouring $15,000 to $23,000 and several hours of labor into it, resources a family with a newborn can’t afford to waste. Who could have guessed that the guy who didn’t comb his hair and roll up the other sleeve before giving a videotaped interview might exercise poor judgement?
Nobody wins here. R.I.P., Hobbit house. *tips a 40 of Ent-draught*