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  1. #1
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    English Farmer Builds Secret Castle

    Hiding a needle in a haystack is easy enough.
    But Robert Fidler kept something much bigger concealed among the piles of straw down on his farm... a castle.
    Over the course of two years, he managed to secretly ? and unlawfully ? build the imposing mock Tudor structure in one of his fields, shielded behind a 40ft stack of hay bales covered by a huge tarpaulins.
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    The family hid the house behind hay bales 40ft high for four years while it was being built - in a failed bid to avoid having to apply for planning permission

    An Englishman's home is his castle: The Fidlers dream home complete with ramparts and cannons

    Once it was finished, he and his family moved in and lived there for four years before finally revealing the development ? complete with battlements and cannons ? in August 2006.
    Mr Fidler claims that because the building has been there for four years with no objections, it is no longer illegal.
    But he is under siege from council planners, who say the castle at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, will have to be knocked down.
    "I can't believe they want to demolish this beautiful house," said 59-year-old Mr Fidler. "To me they are no different than vandals who just want to smash it down."
    Mr Fidler, a farmer, erected the disguise in 2000 out of hundreds of 8ftx4ft bales of straw and covered the top with blue tarpaulin.
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    The Fidler's country kitchen is located in the turret of their 'castle'

    After building the castle on the site of two grain silos at a cost of 50,000, he and his wife Linda went to extraordinary lengths to keep it secret. That included keeping their son Harry, now seven, away from playschool the day he was supposed to do a painting of his home in class.
    "We couldn't have him drawing a big blue haystack ? people might asked questions," said 39-year-old Mrs Fidler.
    Mr Fidler, who has five children from a previous marriage, said: "We moved into the house on Harry's first birthday, so he grew up looking at straw out of the windows.
    "We thought it would be a boring view but birds nested there and feasted on the worms. We had several families of robins and even a duck made a nest and hatched 13 ducklings on top of the bales."
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    But neighbours were unimpressed.
    One said: "Nobody thought anything of it when the hay went up. It was presumed he was building a barn or something similar.
    "It was a complete shock when the hay came down and this castle was in its place. Everyone else has to abide by planning laws, so why shouldn't they?"
    Problems began last April when Mr Fidler, thinking he had beaten the planning system, applied for a certificate of lawfulness which is given if a property is erected but nobody objects to it after four years.
    But Reigate and Banstead Council says the four-year period after which the building would be allowed to stay is void ? because nobody had been given a chance to see it.
    The matter will now be decided in February by the council's planning inspector, who could give the Fidlers as little as six months to tear the castle down.
    The family are not alone in falling foul of planning laws.
    Last November pensioners Eileen and Eamonn Kelly were told they would face prison unless they demolished the one-bedroom extension on their semi-detached home in Swanley, Kent after planners said it was "out of keeping" with the area.
    More recently around a dozen Britons living in Spain have had their homes torn down after a clampdown on illegally built properties built on the coastline.
    A spokeswoman for the Reigate council said: "Mr Fidler has built the house without planning permission, not sought retrospective planning permission and now claims it is legal because it has been up for four years.
    "We don't think the four-year rule applies because it had been hidden behind bales of hay."


  2. #2
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    dirtydog's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    How horrible for the neighbors! having that nice home bringing up their property values against their wishes!

  4. #4
    Member machman's Avatar
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    ^ Agreed and it's fair to say that it looks a damned sight more attractive than the straw mountain disguise!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles
    But Reigate and Banstead Council says the four-year period after which the building would be allowed to stay is void ? because nobody had been given a chance to see it.
    Does the law state that it has to be seen?

  6. #6
    Banned for deleting Gallery
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    High court said yes and that the 4 year period started when it became viewable, council will still probably want 4 years council tax I expect!

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    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    What a shame. Can't say I much like the looks of the place from the outside, but the kitchen is great. Probably should have just applied for the permit, rather than trying an end run.

  8. #8
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton
    Probably should have just applied for the permit, rather than trying an end run.
    Not a chance in hell of getting one. Can't even put up a shed in your own garden without planning permission.

  9. #9
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    he should have built a Mosque , no problems then. btw , anyone seen the Hardmen from the National Front ?

  10. #10
    Out there...
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    No, got a pic?

  11. #11
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    StrontiumDog's Avatar
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    Looks like a reasonable gaff he built, not my thing, but still.


    But what a twat. He knew what he was doing.

  12. #12
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
    slackula's Avatar
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    He should challenge the council to a jousting match.





    /hope his cannon works

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    No, got a pic?
    no pics but I did conduct a google image search on spineless britian and still no joy. where can those hardmen be ?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by English Noodles
    "We couldn't have him drawing a big blue haystack ? people might asked questions," said 39-year-old Mrs Fidler.
    Dunno about questions but many of the population would have been jealous.

    "Bloody haystack, a bloody haystack? Eeee we used t'dream of living in a haystack.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12Call View Post
    he should have built a Mosque , no problems then. btw , anyone seen the Hardmen from the National Front ?
    He should just paint it bright fukcing green and add a few minarets. Register it as a mosque, and no one will dare to do anything.

  16. #16
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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  17. #17
    Mid
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    so if I have this right ,

    this is OK




    whilst , this is Not .



    know which one I'd prefer to have next door

  18. #18
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    A shame if that has to be torn down. He should pay a fine sure but to trash the place is just a waste.

  19. #19
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    Any bathrooms in it ?

  20. #20
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub
    He should pay a fine sure but to trash the place is just a waste.




    He should be fined for the mullet as well.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    A shame if that has to be torn down. He should pay a fine sure but to trash the place is just a waste.
    While I agree with you, this is an unfortunate case of someone who thought he could evade the local council's planning department. Sure this is a fine, depending on your taste, looking building but say they let him get away with it. Then the next guy builds a lower grade structure and appeals against demolition on the back of this case. Before you know where you are the countryside is indescernable from the squalid sink estates built by the............errr..............local councils.

    What he should have done is stick a friggin' great 300 foot wind turbine generator on top of it and claimed it as a zero carbon footprint dwelling. Then he could appeal to dear old Gordon B. offering his vote in the next election in exchange for approval.

  22. #22
    ding ding ding
    Spin's Avatar
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    Not a bad looking place but the thing is that civilised countries have laws like this which prevent people from creating a monstrous fucking eyesore out of concrete any where they choose, like they do in Thailand.

  23. #23
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    Typical arrogant farmer thinks he can do what he likes --lived on subsidies all his life and thinks the law doesnt apply to him
    I wonder what he would have said if someone had tried to impose an illegal footpath across his land

  24. #24
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by donald36
    I wonder what he would have said if someone had tried to impose an illegal footpath across his land
    OOii. Git orf moi larnd, lest ya wants to taste me lead, ya bloody screaming great mincing townie bottom boy that ya are.

  25. #25
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    I quite liked the haystacks and tarp with the old tyres hanging off it myself, much nicer than some fake castle type building, more in keeping with the Thai landscape and other 3rd world countries.

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