A British farmer who secretly constructed a castle on his property is being forced to tear it down.
Robert Fidler, 63, began building the castle in 2001. However, he kept its construction a secret from local planning officials. Using tarps and a 40-foot high wall of hay bales, he effectively hid the massive structure from view for five years.
According to an article by UPI, the farmer and his family lived within the castle during its years of concealment. Fidler believed he would bypass planning regulations by occupying the residence.
A local planning rule states that buildings constructed without prior permission are not subject to regulation if unchallenged during a consecutive four year period.
The Daily Mail writes that a six year battle with the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has resulted in an unfortunate fate for the farmer’s secret castle. Fidler has been ordered to destroy his beloved structure as a direct result of his concealment.
The Planning Inspectorate, a government agency responsible for ruling on planning appeals, sided this week with the council’s refusal to give Fidler retroactive permission for the castle’s construction.
The ruling, written by inspector Sara Morgan, states the following:
“His actions in constructing the dwelling house behind a wall of straw bales, and then living in the building for over four years before the bales were removed, was intended to conceal the building and its use from the council’s knowledge and thus prevent any enforcement action being taken before it was too late.”
Do you think the farmer should have to tear down his secret castle?