'Hobbit House' Being Demolished Due To Lack Of Permits

August 6, 2013


You see this house? British couple Charlie Hague and Megan Williams built it with their own four hands. And now it's set to be demolished because they didn't bother getting any permits for the thing. Also, because the building "harms the character and appearance of the countryside", which I think we can all agree is complete bullshit because Hobbit houses are like the textbook definition of the character and appearance of the countryside.

The pair acknowledged their property was built without prior consent but said there was no other way for them to afford their own home.

Locals nicknamed it the hobbit home but most people did not even know it was there because it is so secluded.

The couple's appeal was dismissed by planning inspector Iwan Lloyd, who ruled the development harmed the character and appearance of the countryside.

The inspector upheld the council's enforcement notice, which requires the roundhouse and all associated work, including the timber decking, be demolished.

I'm guessing that somebody with a friend on the council happens to own a neighboring home with windows that face the Hobbit house and they just obsess about seeing it gone. First, they put up curtains, but that wasn't enough. Curtains only blocked the house from view, not from EXISTENCE. I imagine they were *this close* to burning the house down themselves before deciding to take the legal route.

Hit the jump for a couple shots of the soon-to-be-nonexistent interior.





Thanks to PYY, who wants to live in a treehouse. OMG, SAAAAAAAAME. SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME.

  • wordwar

    For those who argue that society would collapse without hundreds or thousands of dollars in permits, fees, inspections and a bureaucrat god to give thumbs up or thumbs down, I will only say that I have been living in Hunt County, Texas, USA for the past four years, where that has not been the case for me.

    There are a few basic rules: You need an approved septic system, which involves a permit, a licensed contractor, and to be fair the cost for this is about $5,000.00, more or less. The county officials state in their application that they will consider other waste disposal options that you may propose, so maybe there is a way to go even cheaper. The other rule is you cannot build in a flood plain, unless you can get special permission and go through a lot of expense (so why bother). Other than that you are left alone to do what you need to do. Or want to do. That's your business. If you live within city limits then it becomes and entirely different matter. And this is all within commuting distance from the Dallas metroplex.

    Every weekend I work on putting up barb wire fences and gates all over my property. I can build chicken coops, livestock run-ins, barns of all sizes. I can build whatever style or size of house I choose. No permits. No inspections. I am tied into the electric grid and piped water, but I have neighbors who have decided to remain off grid. Most of us do our own work, and we aren't forced to hire licensed contractors, even for electric and plumbing.

    I have one neighbor who has been living in a pop-up camper while she attempted to build an earthship with earth filled tires. She abandoned that project and is now instead converting a shipping container into a tiny house. She takes her camper to a dump station at a nearby campground, so she doesn't need a septic. I made my own electrical connection from the power meter to my mobile home. I sell livestock right from my front drive, no permit needed. My chickens are free range - no restrictions on that either. My neighbors spend their weekends shooting firearms. Freedom to live the life you choose.

    I get that some people want to live in cities. They want building codes, permits, inspections, standardization, aesthetic standards, protection of home values, high barriers of entry into the housing market (all those permits and inspections are expensive and keep lower income families from moving into the neighborhood), and a sense that if they buy a home they are not at risk of some bad DIY project that is going to fall apart beneath them.

    Most such fears are unfounded, as a good home inspector will uncover most such problems. And ordinances, codes, permit and inspection requirements won't stop an unscrupulous individual from trying to get away with a bad cover-up repair that he keeps hidden and unannounced to the planning authorities.

    But on the outskirts of cities should be places where people can build a life for themselves, especially people who have been economically marginalized, often through no fault of their own. If a family can marshal their resources, gather building materials from nature or the waste of our over-consuming society, and pull off their own construction then that should be their own business.

    Living within one's means should be a matter of self-determination - allowing the laws of chance and nature to decide how far you go - not being forced to live a cardboard box in an alley designated as a safe place for homeless people. And to do what in that alley? Beg for change while people mutter BS about living off the land, earning your own way, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps?
    We need to remember that while free markets are good, if people are forced to buy and don't have the option to do their own thing, prices are driven up and those with the lowest economic power do not even get to participate. That is okay for luxury goods, but not acceptable for the means of survival. If luxury goods are too high they can do without - and companies knowing that consumers can just say no will come out with products for every price range. What we see with the permit/inspection cartel could happen to food as well if you didn't have the right to make your own sandwiches. Push come to shove people can choose to cook their own food, even buy only vegetables if meat is too expensive, and people with access to even small parcels of land - even if they have to borrow the land or plant guerilla gardens - can grow their own vegetables. But most nations have strictly regulated agricultural markets to maintain stable, attainable food for the entire population and programs to help people struggling economically. But we also don't have laws keeping people from growing their own food. In fact in the US you can still use food stamps to purchase seeds, so even our poorest citizens who may not have access to jobs can still be somewhat self-reliant and work to produce their own food if they have access to land they own, rent or borrow.
    We are told that there is a shortage of land and a growing population and that this is why housing for many people is unaffordable. But reality is that there is a lot of land; land that is farmed for non-essential crops, such as feed for vanity livestock like Shetland ponies and pigmy goats; land that is farmed inefficiently; and lots of land that is inappropriate for industrial scale farming but perfect for the small homestead. Across the United States it is possible to find great deals on small parcels of land. $50,000 can buy 20 acres in many parts of the country. 1-2 acre plots can be purchased for as little as $10,000, sometimes less, though the smaller acre plots are more likely to be subjected to the tyrannical types of rules that keep people from providing their own needs. But the people who can benefit most from the opportunity to buy cheap land, build their own cheap homes, and grow their own food are the people already marginalized by the winner-takes-all economy of the crowded inner cities where there are the fewest opportunities for people to provide for themselves.
    Now, to illustrate why the excessive costs imposed by the permit, inspection and fee system is a serious problem and a threat to human rights and dignity, consider the health care system in the Unites States. In most of the developed world people have universal access to healthcare either through public medical care or subsidized and regulated insurance markets. In the US we now finally have universal access to insurance, and while every US citizen is obligated now to buy insurance, the doctors have no obligation to accept this insurance. In many states in the US it is still possible to seek emergency medical treatment at a hospital and receive several bills from doctors, ambulances and other providers amounting to thousands of dollars, far above what insurance will pay. By law, individuals cannot deny medical care to their spouse or children, and medical providers must be licensed and regulated. There is no DIY option for medical care. Unless the state intervenes to implement cost controlling measures, the "free market" of mandatory care simply leaves a lot of Americans with unaffordable bills. The term "medical bankruptcy" is commonly known in the US yet virtually unheard of in the rest of the world where there are consumer protections to limit the amounts every citizen could be exposed to. When you force consumers to purchase products or services that they cannot produce on their own, the inevitable outcome is skyrocketing prices. Hence everywhere where people cannot build their own homes or repair their own properties without paying as much or more in fees than they would spend on materials, we see skyrocketing prices. And with those skyrocketing prices do we see better buildings everywhere? In affluent areas yes, but everywhere else the high cost of permitting or licensing requirements means that owners cannot afford to properly maintain their buildings or improve them.

  • pontefractious

    For anyone who wants to know the outcome of this story, go to:

  • pontefractious

    Make the punishment fit the crime.The message the council and inspector want to send is that you can't just build buildings and ignore local procedures. Well, they can do that just as effectively by making the owners take all the steps they should have gone through to build the home. If the building is indeed an eyesore (these things are pretty subective) then give them the option of planting trees or taking other measures to make the view more acceptable. Make them bring the building up to code. This may involve some messy work if it involves checking pipes and wires embedded in walls etc - so be it. Once that work is complete the owners should obtain the required certificates at their own expense. Only if the building is determined to be dangerous and the owners unable or unwilling to mitigate the danger should the building be demolished.
    Making the owners demolish the building just sends the message that the council and inspector are petty minded individuals frustrated in their jobs and out to take vengeance on anyone they can. If a company makes a car with faulty brakes we don't make the company destroy the car - we say "recall the car and fix it". If a bank sells a product with a misleading description we tell it to refund the money. We don't close the bank. Enforcement of laws is necessary but it must be rational and appropriate or people lose respect for the law.
    Of course, when something like this comes up, a responsible authority will also take a look at the current laws and costs of complying with same to make sure that they are appropriate.

  • Well as far as the bureaucrats involved in this atrocity if someone did the same thing to their homes I believe it would be justice. I wouldnt do it myself but I would applaud anyone who did.

  • pontefractious

    Not sure if you saw my post of yesterday but it appears common sense prevailed in the end (http://www.theguardian.com/.... But even so it leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. One gets the impression that from the bureaucrats' point of view here, the issue was not "is this house OK", but "what can we do to punish these people for not following the rules". And while I have no doubt that leniency would encourage others to flout the rules they should also realize that the occasion well justified exception reinforces the public's perception as to the fairness of the process.

  • That's good. This crap kind of hit home with me because Im planning on saving up my money to buy lots of land and I want to build a hobbit hole. Im kind of worried some bureaucratic tyrants might give me a hard time.

  • And all they had to do was apply for planning permission first.

  • What if the tyrannical bureaucrats dont want them to have a hobbit hole in the first place? Might be hard getting permission to build such a home. Permission they shouldnt need in the first place.

  • antalicus

    Someone should donate some money for them to get permits and build something that is actually ugly in its place.

  • Perhaps someone should do the same thing to the houses of the bureaucrats that condemned the hobbit hole. Then build something ugly. Perhaps a junkyard. Or perhaps someone should move next to those bureaucratic people and burn manure in a firepit every time the wind blows in the direction of the bureaucrats property.

    There are ways to mess with such scum...for years and years. Here in the states if in a rural area living next to such bureaucratic scum I might just go target shooting in my backyard at 1am. Very loud especially 12 gadges and high powered Rifles.

    Also I could play opera, classical, heavy metal, country, whatever pissed the bureaucrat off the most.

  • Lu Cho

    isn't there any kind of petition to avoid this?

  • Beegeezee505

    I take serious issue with people who seek to destroy the labor of others. What do you think the earliest settlers would have said to a government that sought to demolish their home because it didn't meet their standards?

    This is flat out tyranny. How have we reached this sad state in our society that you can't build a thing without the approval of the almighty state.

    These brown nose, busy bodies need to die in a fire. This house is a magnificent creation, to which they hold no claim to. Whatever happened to individual sovereignty? Whatever happened to creativity?

    The soul of man is reduced and forced into conformity! REVOLT! RECLAIM YOUR HUMANITY!

  • Captain Matticus, LP Inc.

    You shall not pass...inspection!

  • You win the Internet, cap!

  • that's horrible!!! They were just featured on CNN, and I'm sure that's why they are getting the boot: http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/.... CNN should have left these ppl alone. I hope they run a story on these folks behalf!!!

  • $12217504

    I don't understand, did they own the land? Or did they build the house on someone elses property?

  • In America, some people don't get to build their dream homes in the first place - http://myfreedomfoundation....

  • brodan2013

    Aside from the argument - I just want to input that cases like this are when the community needs to be involved. The community should vote anonymously on whether the house is left alone or not.

    Because there really was just one bitter person who hated himself for never doing anything with this life, who made it his mission to get this couple in trouble. Let the community have SOME kind of say, as they aren't ALL bitter, jealous busy-bodies.

  • In THIS Middle-Earth, Sauron *always* wins.

  • Conrado Parra

    tearing peoples home is such a dick move /:

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