A medieval home hit a modern snag last week after an English farmer was ordered to tear down his secret castle.
Robert Fidler, 63, secretly constructed a castle on his land in Redhill, Surrey in 2001 and hid it behind stacks of hay covered in tarpaulin. The impressive construction includes ramparts and even a cannon to complete the authentic look.
Fidler and his wife kept their castle hidden until 2006, when they thought they were out of a legal loophole that claims borough residents cannot build anything without permission, but if it remains unchallenged for four or more years, then the construction cannot be “enforced against” by the planners.
As soon as the castle was unveiled, however, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council took up arms against the castle—which, by this point, the family had been living in for four years—and said they would not grant retrospective permission, despite the loophole.
The Council demanded Fidler to demolish his castle—named Honeycrock Farmhouse—in 2007 and so the two parties went to court to battle about the loophole. After a six year battle through various courts and appeals, the couple was finally ordered again to tear down the castle after a two day hearing of the Planning Inspectorate, which is a government agency that rules on planning appeals.
The biggest problem the Fidlers’ faced was that the construction of the castle was a “deliberate deception” on their behalf.
But, the Fidlers still have no plans to destroy their home.
“This house will never be knocked down,” Robert previously said. “This is a beautiful house that has been lovingly created. I will do whatever it takes to keep it.” He also said that he would go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.