THE High Court has ruled that a castle-style home must be demolished after the owner failed to obtain planning permission, instead concealing the 'castle' behind straw bales and tarpaulin.
Robert Fidler, 61, who built his mock Tudor castle, hiding it during construction and for some time afterwards behind straw bales and a tarpaulin, this week lost a high court battle to prevent its demolition. The 4 bedroom home, located in Surrey, about 64 kilometres south of London, includes ramparts, turrets and cannons.
Planning authorities found out about the unauthorised structure in 2006, after Mr Fidler and his family had already spent four years living there. Mr Fidler was issued an enforcement notice in March 2007 requiring the castle's demolition on grounds he had erected it without planning permission.
Officials say he cannot be allowed to benefit from his intentional deception of planning authorities. "This was a blatant attempt at deception to circumvent the planning process, which particularly in the green belt is an important part of trying to protect the environment we live in," said Mike Miller, a councillor responsible for planning, transport and housing.
However, after the high court decision, Mr Fidler vowed to take the case to the appeal court, and if unsuccessful, 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," he said.