DIY housebuilder loses court battle to save his 'off-grid holistic retreat'

Eddie McIntosh, 52, from Wales, has lost a court battle to save his 'truly inspiring' treehouse

Eddie McIntosh, 52, from Wales, has lost a court battle to save his 'truly inspiring' treehouse

A DIY builder living in a treehouse described as 'truly inspiring' by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud has lost a court battle to save his home. 

Eddie McIntosh, 52, from Wales, constructed the twelve-acre farm himself complete with wooden classrooms, cabins and even a footbridge.

The father-of-two began developing his 'Mellowcroft' woodland site over 12 years ago to live a sustainable lifestyle and offer alternative therapy.

One shack had 26 stained glass windows along with an outdoor spa using recycled baths.

At the woodland site Mr McIntosh grows willow furniture,fruit and vegetables and rears pigs.

He also produces silver birch water - made from silver birch trees and used as a tonic for rheumatism.

He made a range of buildings from recycled material - hailed as 'beautiful, a delight, an inspiration, off-grid luxury' by McCloud on his Channel 4 show Man Made Home.

However Mr McIntosh now has to tear the whole thing down after he lost a court case with his local council.

He had been given permission for it to be used for agriculture but the authority proved it was being used a residence - because he was living in a tree house there. 

Mr McIntosh (pictured with wife Kim and daughter Ellie) had been given permission to use the site for agriculture only

Mr McIntosh (pictured with wife Kim and daughter Ellie) had been given permission to use the site for agriculture only

Mr McIntosh, 52,  constructed the twelve-acre farm himself and grows willow furniture, rears pigs and grows fruit and vegetables at the woodland site

Mr McIntosh, 52,  constructed the twelve-acre farm himself and grows willow furniture, rears pigs and grows fruit and vegetables at the woodland site

The DIY builder's  treehouse was once described as 'truly inspiring' by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud

The DIY builder's  treehouse was once described as 'truly inspiring' by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud

Mr McIntosh has now been found guilty of 18 charges of breaking planning laws by failing to comply with planning enforcement notices served on him by Powys Council.

He was accused of continuing to use Mellowcroft as his residence and failing to remove a motor home and various wooden structures he'd built.

He must now demolish the buildings at the retreat in Llandrindod Wells, Mid Wales.

Mr McIntosh had denied 18 charges at his trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court but was found guilty on all counts.

The court was told McIntosh had already appealed the notices to the independent planning inspector who in a January 2016 decision mostly upheld the notices.

His Honour Christopher Vosper QC fined McIntosh, of Mellowcroft, Llandegley, a total of £750.

Prosecutor Christian Jowett said the council's costs were in the region of £35,000 but did not make an application for the authority to be awarded the costs.

McIntosh was also given a 12 month conditional discharge on three charges, relating to the motor home, a shed and the tree house as they had now been moved.

Mr Vosper told him: 'The jury have convicted you on all 18 counts.

'I understand you just took a stand against the order I understand you felt frustrated but you can't simply ignore the order especially after an inquiry by the independent inspector.'

The incredible tree house was built solely from recycled/donated materials and around three birch trees

The incredible tree house was built solely from recycled/donated materials and around three birch trees

Mr McIntosh ran the site as a rural retreat offering education and alternative therapies as well as off-grid holiday accommodation

Mr McIntosh ran the site as a rural retreat offering education and alternative therapies as well as off-grid holiday accommodation

The judge said he had to impose a financial penalty but acknowledged the defendant, who is reliant on selling vegetables he grows at Mellowcroft from a trailer beside the A44, only had a yearly income of around £2,500.

He said had he fined him £100 for the 15 offences, not dealt with by conditional discharge, the total would be £1,500 so instead told him to pay £750 over the next 12 months.

Should McIntosh fail to pay he will have to serve 28 days in jail.

The structures he failed to removed included compost toilet, a motor home, a drover's cabin, a shepherd's hut, a wood fired bath, a footbridge and a wind turbine and a jetty as well as a stone circle.

Earlier Jonathan Rees, defending, had asked the jury to use 'common sense' when deciding the case.

He told them the enforcement notices had succeeded in bringing about the outcome that the council wanted, that unauthorised uses such as as the retreat, education and alternative therapies, no longer took place and Mellowcroft was returned to being agricultural land.

Following a court trial with his local council Mr McIntosh now has to tear the whole thing down

Following a court trial with his local council Mr McIntosh now has to tear the whole thing down

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