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Is that a mock Tudor Castle in your haystack or are you just happy to see me?

That is quite a Haystack you have there!

That is quite a Haystack you have there!

In Redhill Surry Robert fiddler created a massive pile of hay bales in his yard and his neighbours didn’t really think anything of it, he is a farmer after all. Then about six years later the bales came down and voila a Mock Tudor Castle. The fiddlers built the house in secret over the course of two years and then lived in it while it was hidden within the hay bales for four years in a bit to avoid needing to get planning permission for the structure. The town council wants it down but Robert fiddler is arguing that he followed the letter of the law. A law which states that if a structure has been built/erected for four years and there are no objections to it then planning permission is automatically granted.

The Banstead Council is arguing that the four year period is void because the fiddlers had the house hidden under a haystack and therefore no one could see it to object to it. I suppose that no one thought to wonder where all those bricks being delivered to the farm were going? (They are right there in the picture after all) The house was revealed in early January and the matter went before town council in February. While there are plenty of articles (much like this one) talking about the unveiling there are none that speak of what happened after it went to the council, or maybe he has hopefully taken the case to a higher court if they turned him down.

The Offending Castle

The Offending Castle

The question of Aesthetics aside I personally, while a fan of planning laws myself, think it is genius that this farmer found a loophole in the law and was able to use it. In terms of the legal aspect he did satisfy the terms of the law if not the spirit of the law. How often do we see people get off on technicalities in criminal cases? It is refreshing to see a farmer able do the same. Plus I have a feeling after my google map look at the property (which still shows the haystack) that this ‘castle’ is an improvement. I also find it funny that the biggest objection listed in the article is “Everyone else has to abide by planning laws, so why shouldn’t they?” That said the Banstead council and councils around the world would be smart to alter their regulations so that no one can use this loop hole in the future.

View Larger Map

The Farm is located in the bottom middle of the map on ‘Axes line’ between ‘picketts line’ and and ‘new house line’ to the left of the service road. Google Map “Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey” to get the little red marker.
The Evening Standard Article.

Read More Here at Urban Neighbourhood with ‘The Fight for Fidler’s Castle Continues’


19 Responses to “Is that a mock Tudor Castle in your haystack or are you just happy to see me?”

  1. Genius!
    I’m fed up of being faced with families who can’t support themselves popping out six kids and being financially supported by hard working tax payers while the government moans about “everyone must be green” while being chauffeur driven around in a V8 Jag that does 12 mpg around town.
    Good luck to this guy. Is he stretching the statement of the law? Absolutely. However, if The Law decides he can keep it, then great.
    A hard working guy who wanted to support his family and provide them with a home.
    …If he does fail in his bid, maybe they can turn it into a prison where murderers and rapists can be put rather than turning them loose.
    Failing that it could be a home for illegal immigrants. Maybe they’d prefer that to not infringe their Basic Human Rights.
    The worlds gone mad, and England (unfortunately) seems to be leading the way.

    Posted by Cable Dude | 09/08/2008, 3:02 pm
  2. we have seen this castle for our own eyes. It is not imposing and it IS on mr fiddlers own land.
    congratulations robert fiddler on the completion of the house and good luck with your fight to save it

    Posted by ella and mark | 04/10/2008, 3:52 pm
  3. I would love to know how Mr fiddler is getting on with is battle. I hope they get to keep their castle, good on him. Councils are forever raping and pillaging our towns villages and countrysides constructing buildings from hell developing in our green belt and our protests are ignored. Let the fiddler family have their castle.

    Posted by good for them | 03/01/2009, 4:23 pm

    Posted by norma workman | 16/02/2009, 6:40 pm
  5. So far we are unsure what is going on with Fidlers Castle a web search doesn’t really pull any new information on the situation. We tried looking up the Fiddlers via Royal mail and sending off a letter with a request for an email but haven’t heard anything. If anyone else happens to know what the current state of things is for the fiddlers please send the info our way!

    Posted by mrbarham | 02/03/2009, 3:10 pm
  6. In may 2008 The planning Inspectorate denied Mr Fidler’s appeals and ordered the building to be demolished within 12 months.

    In January 2009 Mr Fidler appeared at the High Court where he was granted the right to appeal against the Planning Inspectorate ruling.


    Posted by Rob Walters | 11/03/2009, 5:21 pm
  7. just watched homes from hell 23/4/2009, seen mr. fiddlers castle and if it gets demolished, it will be an absolute disgrace, the building is stunning and i wish the family luck in their fight against “planners” they
    (planners) make me sick and i hope he suceeds. good luck

    Posted by terry foster | 22/04/2009, 4:19 pm
  8. Not sure I agree with the “good luck to him” sentiment. Plenty of ordinary people get plans turned down. This guy seems to have plenty of money and wants to get away with it ;( – why should he?

    Posted by Jack Thompson | 23/04/2009, 9:46 pm
  9. I think the difference between our positions Jack, comes from maybe the way that we view it. Its my opinion that Mr Fiddler did not break the law when he built his house. The planning regulations stated if the house/structure had been built for four years with no objections then it is approved. The law didn’t specify that it had to be in plain site. He found the loop hole in the law and built his house, if you find a loop hole you find a loop hole.

    You can bet that the council changed the law to insure that ‘in plain sight’ is in there, or maybe they removed the option to build with no objections entirely but the Fiddlers didn’t break the letter of the law.

    Posted by mrbarham | 23/04/2009, 10:03 pm
  10. wow terry…

    I think that planners have a definit role to play. I mean since people plan vacations and events so that they don’t become a giant disaster shouldn’t we plan our cities at least a little bit?

    Posted by mrbarham | 23/04/2009, 10:05 pm
  11. If I’ve read this correctly, he’s paid out £50k to build a property which, if above board, might be worth 10 or 20 times (?) what he’d paid.

    Whether or not he gets away with it is in the hands of the Courts.

    But why should he get away with it? Plenty of those of us with more modest finances get planning permission turned down all the time.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out, but we could be in for a long battle.

    Posted by Jack Thompson | 24/04/2009, 3:00 pm
  12. good luck Mr Fiddler, you have built such a beautiful place… I hope you get to enjoy it for as long as you wish!!!

    Posted by Vince | 17/08/2009, 4:00 pm
  13. let him keep it…its a great place….they build these bloody eye sore mosks all over the bloody place..and silly small house that are a eye sore in place of great old house that have been knocked down…its a nice place and it looks good where it is….the planers and council should concentrate on other intrests……

    Posted by john | 17/08/2009, 4:07 pm
  14. Fair play to them all!! They worked hard and built a stunning house without being noticed. He has found a loop hole in the planning regs and used it to his full advantage. Anyone who thinks they don’t deserve to keep it is probably just jealous that they didn’t think of the idea first, I know I am!!! Good luck to them.

    Posted by Luke T | 17/08/2009, 5:04 pm
  15. I bet if a saudi arrives and offers to buy it either for occupancy or conversion to a mosque all will be well.

    Posted by Delboy | 05/02/2010, 4:55 pm
  16. 3/4 of the price of all houses are planning parasitism which both prevents people building houses 7 on the rare occasions they are allowed mandates building processes that were new in the days of Victoria. This story just shows how damaging these parasites are to all of us.

    Good for Fiddler. He saw what the law said & used it. The council claim that the hay was part of the building process is clearly untrue.

    I understand he did most of the building with his own hands. That makes him a harder worker than all the 17 year olds in Liverpool combined.

    Posted by Neil Craig | 09/02/2010, 10:36 am
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  1. […] of Fiddler’s Castle on Honeycrock Farm in Salfords England has been going on for years now. We first highlighted the story back in July 2008 and that post continues to be one of the highest traffic drivers to the urbanneighbourhood.com. […]

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