Judge Orders Arrest Of Farmer Who Hid Castle Behind Hay Bales

The farmer who famously built a mock Tudor castle without planning permission - and hid it behind a wall of hay bales - is in trouble with a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Dove issued a bench warrant after Robert Fidler, 63, missed a committal hearing in London regarding his controversial abode. .

The farmer built the four-bedroom home at Surrey in 2000, moving in two years later - behind a carefully constructed wall of hay bales.

In 2007, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council ordered the demolition of the four-bed property at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, and a Government planning inspector rejected Mr Fidler’s appeal a year later.

The inspector’s stance was backed by the High Court in 2010 and also 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.

[Picture: PA] - Mr Fidler has said previously that he doesn’t think he has “any choice” other than going ahead and demolishing the property

Mr Justice Dove said he was satisfied that Mr Fidler knew about the hearing and, given the “potentially extremely serious consequences” for him, he should be given one final opportunity to provide an explanation for breaching the orders.

He adjourned the case until 2pm on November 2 to ensure that Mr Fidler was present to answer the case against him.

Mr Fidler has told the BBC previously: “Obviously it would be quite difficult to demolish something you are very proud of. I don’t think I have any choice really.

"What they are saying now is if I don’t demolish it within 90 days, they can put me in prison.”

In a statement, the council ruled out suggestions that the castle could stay, saying it would set an unacceptable precedent for development in the green belt.

“The construction breached national and local planning rules designed to protect the green belt, which local authorities like ours have a duty to uphold,” they said.

[Pictures: PA]

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