Page last updated at 20:30 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 21:30 UK

Farmer loses hidden castle fight

Mr Fidler's castle in Surrey
The castle has ramparts and a replica cannon

A farmer who built a castle without planning permission has lost his fight to save it.

Robert Fidler of Salfords, Surrey,had kept his building hidden behind a haystacks until August 2006.

Reigate and Banstead Council issued him with an enforcement notice to demolish it earlier this year.

He appealed on the basis that his house had stood for four years without anyone objecting to it, but this was not accepted by the planning inspectorate.

'Green belt protected'

Councillor Lynne Hack said: "We're pleased that deception has not been rewarded.

"Clearly it is unfortunate that Mr Fidler will have to tear down the property he built, but he already had a home on the site.

"Planning law doesn't distinguish between one man building a house and developers building 200 houses and everyone has to abide by the same rules.

"We have to protect our green belt land from development."

Mr Fidler had claimed he only started building the structure when the council did not answer his planning application to turn a cowshed into a house.

He has been given 12 months to knock his home down but can still appeal to the High Court against the planning inspectorate's decision.

Fight to save hay hidden castle
25 Jan 08 |  Surrey

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