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Stealth castle
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 9552

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Stealth castle Reply with quote

This is total bullshit, true, but it was some pretty creative bullshit.

Hay presto! Farmer unveils the 'illegal' mock-Tudor castle he tried to hide behind 40ft hay bales

By DANIEL BATES - Last updated at 17:50pm on 27th January 2008

Hiding a needle in a haystack is easy enough.

But Robert Fidler kept something much bigger concealed among the piles of straw down on his farm... a castle.
Over the course of two years, he managed to secretly and unlawfully build the imposing mock Tudor structure in one of his fields, shielded behind a 40ft stack of hay bales covered by a huge tarpaulins.


The family hid the house behind hay bales 40ft high for four years while it was being built - in a failed bid to avoid having to apply for planning permission


An Englishman's home is his castle: The Fidlers dream home complete with ramparts and cannons

Once it was finished, he and his family moved in and lived there for four years before finally revealing the development complete with battlements and cannons in August 2006.
Mr Fidler claims that because the building has been there for four years with no objections, it is no longer illegal.
But he is under siege from council planners, who say the castle at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, will have to be knocked down.
"I can't believe they want to demolish this beautiful house," said 59-year-old Mr Fidler. "To me they are no different than vandals who just want to smash it down."
Mr Fidler, a farmer, erected the disguise in 2000 out of hundreds of 8ftx4ft bales of straw and covered the top with blue tarpaulin.

The
Fidler's country kitchen is located in the turret of their 'castle'

After building the castle on the site of two grain silos at a cost of 50,000, he and his wife Linda went to extraordinary lengths to keep it secret. That included keeping their son Harry, now seven, away from playschool the day he was supposed to do a painting of his home in class.
"We couldn't have him drawing a big blue haystack people might asked questions," said 39-year-old Mrs Fidler.
Mr Fidler, who has five children from a previous marriage, said: "We moved into the house on Harry's first birthday, so he grew up looking at straw out of the windows.
"We thought it would be a boring view but birds nested there and feasted on the worms. We had several families of robins and even a duck made a nest and hatched 13 ducklings on top of the bales."

But neighbours were unimpressed.
One said: "Nobody thought anything of it when the hay went up. It was presumed he was building a barn or something similar.
"It was a complete shock when the hay came down and this castle was in its place. Everyone else has to abide by planning laws, so why shouldn't they?"
Problems began last April when Mr Fidler, thinking he had beaten the planning system, applied for a certificate of lawfulness which is given if a property is erected but nobody objects to it after four years.
But Reigate and Banstead Council says the four-year period after which the building would be allowed to stay is void because nobody had been given a chance to see it.
The matter will now be decided in February by the council's planning inspector, who could give the Fidlers as little as six months to tear the castle down.
The family are not alone in falling foul of planning laws.
Last November pensioners Eileen and Eamonn Kelly were told they would face prison unless they demolished the one-bedroom extension on their semi-detached home in Swanley, Kent after planners said it was "out of keeping" with the area.
More recently around a dozen Britons living in Spain have had their homes torn down after a clampdown on illegally built properties built on the coastline.
A spokeswoman for the Reigate council said: "Mr Fidler has built the house without planning permission, not sought retrospective planning permission and now claims it is legal because it has been up for four years.
"We don't think the four-year rule applies because it had been hidden behind bales of hay."
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Lemontree



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh christ... I'm sure they serve some purpose, but for the most part, Planning Permissions are just a ridiculous control on the system. If someone owns their OWN land.. they should be able to build whatever the hell they choose to on it.

(again, I don't know enough about the pros and cons of building regulations... Obviously the safety regulations are important, but ones based on solely appearance just piss me off when I hear about them.)
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reasonablymad



Joined: 03 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could understand if they wanted him to pay a fine or go to jail or something, but knock it down? that seems a bit extreme, and wasteful. put the house through the zoning and planning process now, see if it is breaking any laws, gas mains, etc. - or causing the neighbors undue consternation - whatever it is people need to know before you can build. if there's no problem, I say let it stand.
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im pretty sure a castle is more eye pleasing then a 40ft wall of hay no one seemed to concerned over.
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Lemontree



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

agreed.

Obviously the neighbors are simply suffering from a case of Castle-Envy.
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kame



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Need I remind you these people are British?

They wrote the book on telling people what the fuck they're allowed to do.
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reasonablymad



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

also, I'm interested in how they managed to build this thing without anyone knowing. no one saw the truck-fulls of stone and wood and other materials driving in? insulation, windows, roofing, appliances? oh, they were building a barn. a massive stone barn with bay windows and a cannon out front. how about the water and gas and sewage and electrical lines? four years of building and there weren't any suspicious sounds emenating from behind those hay bails? how close are the neighbors, I wonder. and did they do all the construction themselves? no contractors at all?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So reminiscent of Arthur Dent's troubles
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DeD CHiKn



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Location: Baltimore, Maryla*gunshot*

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

reasonablymad wrote:
also, I'm interested in how they managed to build this thing without anyone knowing. no one saw the truck-fulls of stone and wood and other materials driving in? insulation, windows, roofing, appliances? oh, they were building a barn. a massive stone barn with bay windows and a cannon out front. how about the water and gas and sewage and electrical lines? four years of building and there weren't any suspicious sounds emenating from behind those hay bails? how close are the neighbors, I wonder. and did they do all the construction themselves? no contractors at all?


They must have thought they were reinforcing the hell out of that beautiful moldy haystack.
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I could understand if they wanted him to pay a fine or go to jail or something, but knock it down? that seems a bit extreme, and wasteful.


That's EXACTLY what this guy is betting on. He wanted an illegal house but had no permission for it and would have been actively prevented from violating the zoning code had he not done this in secret, so he wanted to instead build the house anyway and let it sit for four years and then whine about the vandals who want to tear down his illegitimate house. He was banking on sympathy for this being a waste to excuse his breaking the law.

I could have sympathy if he applied for a permit instead of engaging on this illegally from the start so that he could have something nobody else would be allowed to put there.
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TIAB



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it should be torn down. I also don't think he should be allowed to keep it. Pay him back for the cost of building, and the property it's on.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one wonders what dealing with the planning commission is like, if living behind a 40-ft wall of hay was preferable to dealing with them.

maybe he should just offer to put the hay back up, the neighbors seemed ok with that, and they seem to have gotten used to the view.

and _i'm_ wondering where the neighbors thought these people were living all this time.
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ZigZag



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's shame that they want to tear down this beautiful house!
Just look at it, I can't believe anyone wants to destroy that?? o.0
Where's the queen when you need her?
Stupid laws.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
and _i'm_ wondering where the neighbors thought these people were living all this time.

Oh, there they go again, back to live in that stack of bales. I sure hope they don't encounter any wolves, or they're done for.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and now the bales are down to reveal....CANNON!

that's probably the real problem - the neighbors are worried they'll start shelling them if the dog barks, or something.
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