A homebuilder described as ‘truly inspiring’ by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud is facing a legal battle to save his natural countryside dream.
Eddie McIntosh, 52, has been ordered by council planners to demolish his hand-built wooden classroom, tree house, cabins and even a footbridge on his rural farm near Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales.
Mr McIntosh, who featured in Channel 4’s Man Made Home, is now facing a court battle with planners to save the buildings on his 12-acre ‘natural holistic farm’.
Father-of-two Mr McIntosh said: ‘I’m not harming anybody and the local community is completely behind me. The council is just being officious.’
He began developing his holistic retreat 12 years ago to live a sustainable lifestyle.
And he made a range of buildings by hand out of recycled material – hailed as ‘beautiful, a delight, an inspiration’ by the TV presenter.
McCloud said: ‘What Eddie has concocted here is off-grid luxury and I rather like it.’
Included in his building are a classroom with 26 stained glass windows now called the ‘Elixir Room’ along with an outdoor spa using recycled baths.
But council officials say the buildings were put up at Mellowcroft did not have planning permission – and have ordered him to get rid of them.
Mr McIntosh, who lives in a converted trailer on the site with his son Cal, 20, said: ‘What I’m trying to do is to live a sustainable lifestyle and find a suitable use for a farm in the 21st century.
‘I’m not harming anyone, I have paid my rates for years and I work as hard as hell.
‘I can’t understand why they can’t just let me try to get on with my life and try to make a go of the farm.’
Mr McIntosh lost an appeal to run his country estate as a ‘retreat’ for nature-lovers – and has now changed it to a ‘natural holistic farm’
He grows willow furniture, rears pigs and grows fruit and vegetables in polytunnels at the farm to make ends meet.
He also produces silver birch water – made from silver birch trees and used as a tonic for rheumatism.
The council alleges Mr McIntosh is in breach of an enforcement notice not to run a retreat even though he took down the tree house.
Mr McIntosh appeared before magistrates in Llandrindod Wells to deny breaching the enforcement notices in a prosecution brought by the county council.
Council solicitor Nigel Vaughan required by the enforcement notice to remove ‘contraventions’ from the land and he said the issue in the case was whether those notices had been complied with up until the site visit in January this year.
He entered a not guilty plea to the charge of breaching the enforcement notice.
Around 13 people, who took up nearly the entire public seating area in the courtroom, attended the hearing to show their support for Mr McIntosh.
Mr McIntosh chose a trial by magistrates rather than before a crown court jury which will be at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on August 31.