A farmer who built a mock Tudor castle behind straw bales without planning permission has accused a council of trying to destroy his life.
Robert Fidler, 66, has refused to tear down the luxury four-bedroom castle at Honeycroft Farm, in Salfords, near Redhill, Surrey, which he built without planning permission in 2000.
The dream home was hidden behind straw bales and tarpaulin for years until it was unveiled in 2006 when it fell foul of local planning laws.
Father-of-six Mr Fidler, who lives with his wife Linda, has repeatedly tried to gain retrospective planning permission for the building without success.
See also: Read more news and advice about planning permission
Reigate and Banstead Borough Council insists the property was built on green belt land without permission and it must be demolished.
And the council has begun contempt of court proceedings against Mr Fidler, requiring him to pull down the property.
But Mr Fidler, who farms 100 cattle, has refused to demolish the castle because he says it is home to bats and has also been sold to an Indian businessman.
During a hearing at the High Court in London on Monday (2 November), the latest in a series of court hearings in the nine-year legal row, Mr Fidler accused the council of trying to destroy his life, the BBC reported.
He told the council’s major development manager Andrew Benson: “All you want to do is put me in prison.
“The house is beautiful but you are so determined to get your way and destroy my life.”
“The house is beautiful but you are so determined to get your way and destroy my life”
Mr Fidler has applied for the injunction to be varied or suspended, arguing that he would be left homeless and would have to sell his herd if the castle was pulled down.
But the council said it must be demolished because it breaches national and local planning rules that protect green belt land.
In addition, it said it had not seen sufficient evidence that Mr Fidler was no longer the rightful owner.
The hearing was adjourned until 9 November.