Man builds secret castle, British authorities discover it, tell him to destroy it

Status
Not open for further replies.
#1



A man's home is his castle — but not if British authorities say it has to be destroyed.

That's the situation faced by Robert Fidler, a farmer who lost a High Court bid Wednesday to protect the once-secret castle he built 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of London and kept hidden from planning authorities.

Fidler placed bales of hay and tarpaulin around his dream home in Salfords, Surrey, to keep the structure from being discovered, authorities said. The court ruled he could not benefit from his deception.

Mike Miller, a chief planner with the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, said the council was delighted with the decision, which was viewed as a vindication of the decision to challenge Fidler in court.

"This was a blatant attempt at deception to circumvent the planning process," he said, adding that Fidler now has one year to destroy the castle, remove the ruins and return the property to its original state.

The unusual castle, complete with cannon and ramparts, was completed in 2002 and Fidler lived there with his family for four years before the authorities started legal action against him.

Fidler's lawyer, Pritpal Singh Swarn, said the decision would be appealed at the Court of Appeal because it raised important planning issues. A further appeal to European courts is possible if British courts again reject Fidler's bid to legitimize his castle.

He said Fidler was extremely disappointed with the ruling.

"Mr. Fidler and his family have lived in their home for over five years," he said. "Planning legislation states that if someone has substantially completed a property for more than four years, then they are immune from having the property knocked down."

He said no residents had complained about the castle.

"It has been pursued at the expense of the taxpayer which we find deeply regrettable — but Mr. Fidler will continue to fight for the right to live in his home," the lawyer said.

Fidler lives in the castle with his wife and son.

Authorities said he incorporated two grain silos into the design, covering them with material to give them a castellated appearance.

The court ruled that "Mr. Fidler made it quite clear that the construction of his house was undertaken in a clandestine fashion."
 
#3
"Mr. Fidler and his family have lived in their home for over five years," he said. "Planning legislation states that if someone has substantially completed a property for more than four years, then they are immune from having the property knocked down."
Bullshit if they make him knock it down then.
 
#5
Why not just get planning permission you muppet?

Still, looks cool, no residents care and there's the whole "Planning legislation states that if someone has substantially completed a property for more than four years, then they are immune from having the property knocked down." so hopefully this Englishman will keep his castle.
 
#7
I fucking hate it when some asshole authorities tell me what I can and cannot do with my house plans. I've experienced something like this before, during planning my own house. I had to have thousands of permissions before I could proceed.

And most of time it was, "No sir, this must be a mistake, this document needs be rechecked," or "You need to $$$ us to allow you do that."
 
#10
Council planning authorities and heritage are the two biggest bunch of scumbags anyone will ever have to deal with. Hope this guy gets to keep his house.
 
#12
Maybe there is more to this story than meets the eye. But, the more sensible ruling would be to fine the shit out of this guy and let him keep his structure (as long as it met safety codes/regulations of the local law).
 
#15
He should build a moat and put some sharks with lasers in it. That would keep them from bulldozing his castle.
:lol

Really where is the harm? (apart from tax money) let him keep it and pay for it.
 
V

Vennt

Unconfirmed Member
#19
Sorry, but he was stupid, it doesn't matter how just you see his case the fact of the matter is that the planning depts. have and will make people destroy their properties if they try to get away without planning permission, it's happened time & time again with the same result.

(A farmer near me had to demolish a 7 bedroom £750,000 luxury home because he didn't have any planning for it, one of many over the years who have thought they could beat the system.)

There hasn't been a case yet where they win, so why waste all your saving on a building you know you are going to lose once caught?
 
#22
Vennt said:
Sorry, but he was stupid, it doesn't matter how just you see his case the fact of the matter is that the planning depts. have and will make people destroy their properties if they try to get away without planning permission, it's happened time & time again with the same result.

(A farmer near me had to demolish a 7 bedroom £750,000 luxury home because he didn't have any planning for it, one of many over the years who have thought they could beat the system.)

There hasn't been a case yet where they win, so why waste all your saving on a building you know you are going to lose once caught?
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
 
#23
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
You're free to vote for people that will change the law governing the use of the land; until then, don't break the law.
 
#24
No vassal shall build a fortress greater than his lords'

The Wisconsin version of this is a multi-story garage which conveniently looked and functioned like a mansion.
 
#25
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
Well, its not that simple.
I'd be pissed if someone built dick shaped house next to mine.
 
V

Vennt

Unconfirmed Member
#26
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
Yeah, unfortunately what you believe, and what the law states, are two entirely different things, and breaking laws has consequences, either you follow them, or you change them or you accept the consequences of not following them.

The consequences of not following this particular set of laws is always demolition, and we've had enough high-profile examples of such that people are daft for ignoring it, why do you think he kept it secret and hid it with haybales? - He knew what the consequences of being caught would be.
 
#28
Those laws are there for a reason. It's sad in that case that he has to destroy an actual nice looking house. But if everybody starts to build houses everywhere and without any rules to follow we are not far away from citys that look like Slums and there will probably also be a higher number of people who die in collapsing or burning houses.
 

iapetus

Scary Euro Man
#32
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, buildings without planning permission ect...)
Fixed to make your point vanish.
 
#33
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
Going back to this, this just demonstrates that what's against the law is subjective. In many places in Nevada for instance, brothels and casinos are not against the law (as long as you follow regulations), but they still probably won't let you put a brothel or a casino if you buy some land that's in a residential neighborhood right next to a park or school, you can't put a brothel on the Las Vegas Strip, etc. And in most places in the world, you probably can't build a helipad, gas station or strip club in residential neighborhoods.
 
#34
MYE said:
Well, its not that simple.
I'd be pissed if someone built dick shaped house next to mine.
I see what you did there.

But seriously, I say go for it. Who cares if it looks like a penis? Who hasn't seen a penis?

I know about abiding laws and all that. It's just what I believe.
 
#40
WorriedCitizen said:
Those laws are there for a reason. It's sad in that case that he has to destroy an actual nice looking house. But if everybody starts to build houses everywhere and without any rules to follow we are not far away from citys that look like Slums and there will probably also be a higher number of people who die in collapsing or burning houses.
In situations like these, the authorities should just allow people to keep their house if it's within regulations or can easily be altered to be within regulations, albeit they should also receive a fine regardless for not seeking permission in the first place. It just seems stupid to waste resources.
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#42
It looks ugly. Not like a castle, but a rural dwelling with disproportionate castle stylings retrofitted on. Terrible windows (white PVC?!), noisy, ugly, inauthentic stonework. I'd get him to knock it too.

And he can't be surprised. Building something without planning permission, particularly something like this, is only asking for trouble.
 
#43
gofreak said:
It looks ugly. Not like a castle, but a rural dwelling with disproportionate castle stylings retrofitted on. Terrible windows (white PVC?!), noisy, ugly stonework. I'd get him to knock it too.

Maybe it'll get destroyed by a legion of fabulous architects before he gets a chance.
 
#45
He was stupid for doing it, sure, but that's still awesome. He should build a moat and a draw-bridge, buy a ton of canned food, and prepare for the coming siege.
 
#48
And that is not really a castle, just some real nice stone work. It is not like that is some kind of military fort lol. Is there a reason why they wouldn't allow it? Why can't he just pay a fine for not applying for permission and keep it?
 

gofreak

GAF's Bob Woodward
#49
Hari Seldon said:
And that is not really a castle, just some real nice stone work. It is not like that is some kind of military fort lol. Is there a reason why they wouldn't allow it? Why can't he just pay a fine for not applying for permission and keep it?
Cos then any rich swine could build whatever they wanted with impunity and just pay off the authorities.

Planning is not just there as a way to catch out people who don't apply for it - it's genuinely there to make sure construction is contextually sound.
 
#50
Bit-Bit said:
Look, I'm of the belief that if I own the property, I can build what ever the fuck I want as long as I'm not building places that are against the law. (brothels, casinos, ect...)

If this man owned his land, then I say let him have whatever he builds on it.
Yeah. Screw the law.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.