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Farmer who refused to tear down mock Tudor castle could face jail

A farmer who has refused to tear down a mock Tudor castle that he built will learn today whether he will be jailed.

Robert Fidler says that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, which has brought committal proceedings against him at London's High Court, is out to "destroy" his life.

Mr Fidler, 66, built the four-bedroomed home at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Surrey, without planning permission in 2000 and in 2002 his family moved into the property, which was kept hidden behind straw bales for four years.

He has been fighting to save it from demolition since the council ordered it to be knocked down in 2007 and a Government planning inspector rejected his appeal a year later.

The inspector's stance was backed by the High Court in 2010 and upheld in the Court of Appeal.

The authority began contempt of court proceedings after Mr Fidler failed to comply with the outstanding enforcement notices and an injunction requiring demolition.

It has ruled out allowing the castle to stay, saying it breaches national and local planning rules designed to protect the green belt.

Last week, Mr Fidler, who is also applying for the injunction to be varied or suspended, told Mr Justice Dove that the council's case was based "on lies and deception".

The hearing was adjourned until today for further evidence and the judge's findings.


From Belfast Telegraph