Bloke who built ‘cheeky’ £1million castle ‘dismantles’ it after planning battle

The farmer who built a million-pound castle on his land without getting planning permission admits he was a bit “cheeky”

Robert Fidler, 73 was forced to take down his one-of-a-kind property after losing a legal battle in 2015.

But, he insists "I haven't demolished it, I've dismantled it.

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”I have all the pieces stored. I'm going to get some land and build it again."

Mr Fidler refused to divulge where all the pieces are stored, nor would he comment where the new location for his castle would be.

The four bedroom castle, which featured authentic-looking battlements and antique cannons took two years and hundreds of trees to build.

Mr Fidler told The Sun : "I had applied for planning permission in 1998 and in 2005 when they asked me to demolish the building, they still hadn’t answered my planning application, seven years later.

“Their own legislation says they are supposed to reply to me within eight weeks and they did not do it within eight years.”

Mr Fidler had hoped a loophole in planning rules which state that if a structure had been up for four years without permission it could stay up.

He kept the whole structure hidden under a giant tarpaulin and camouflaged it with a stacks of tyres and hay bales to prevent passers-by from catching sight of the building work.

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Local councillor Mike Miller described the plan as a “blatant attempt at deception to circumvent the planning process”.

The saga began when Mr Fidler built a four-bedroom property at Honeycrock Farm in Salfords, near Redhill, without planning permission in 2000.

Two years later, his family moved in but he kept the property hidden until 2006. He believed the building, which he built for £50,000, would be immune from planning enforcement because it had been complete for four years.

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However, a year later Reigate and Banstead Borough Council ordered Mr Fidler to knock it down.

Mr Fidler continued to argue his case over the next few years with appeals being rejected by a government planning inspector, the High Court and then the Court of Appeal.

He even told the High Court in 2015 he could not demolish the mock Tudor building because bats and newts could be living near it.

At one point he was handed a three-month suspended jail sentence by Mr Justice Dove, who warned him that he could be sent to prison for his "intentional defiance"

But Mr Fidler insisted: "I broke no law. I was looking after my family. I acted in good faith. I am a law-abiding citizen."


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