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Farmer's Secret Castle Ordered Torn Down by Judge, Owner Seeks Appeal

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
February 20, 2013|10:17 am

A man in England who built a castle on his property will have to tear it down after a court ruled he deceived the town's council and failed to follow protocol with the town's building guidelines.

Robert Fidler began construction of his castle in 2001 at Honeycrock Farm in Redhill, Surrey, but the borough council required that all new contraction must past a review and have no complaints against the property for four consecutive years.

Fearing locals would not want such a castle, Fidler hid the castle behind 40-foot high walls of hay bales and even used a blue tarp to cover the structure. Once the castle was complete and he had lived in the property for four years, he removed the hay barrels and went about his business.

The Reigate and Banstead Borough Council was not pleased with the new development and ordered the castle be demolished in 2007. After six years of court battles, a judge ruled that the castle must come down.

Deputy High Court Judge Sir Thayne Forbes ruled that Fidler planned to remove the bales and that the bales must be considered part of the structure.

"From his own evidence and submissions it was always his intention to remove the bales once he thought that lawfulness had been secured," Forbes wrote in the ruling.

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"It is therefore quite obvious he never intended to continue to live within a straw stack and until the straw was removed he could not enjoy a reasonable level of residential amenity, consistent with normal expectations of what a dwelling house should provide," he added.

But Fidler is not done fighting for his right to live in the castle that he built and says that if an appeal is denied, he will take the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

"This house will never be knocked down. This is a beautiful house that has been lovingly created. I will do whatever it takes to keep it," Fidler read in a statement.

"The castle is lawful, but they are twisting and perverting the law. Knocking this place down now would be nothing short of vandalism," he added.

 

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