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End looms for saga of illegal house built in Surrey green belt

by on April 2, 2015

The saga of farmer and landowner Robert Fidler’s unauthorised house built in the green belt near Redhill, Surrey about 15 years ago has reached the endgame.

For the first four years of its existence the building with its faux Tudor façade and castellated towers was hidden behind straw bales.

Subsequently, the property has generated a number of applications, appeals and litigation. In what seems to be his last throw of the dice, Fidler had applied to retain the building as an agricultural worker’s dwelling, a move refused by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has determined similarly even though the inspector who held the recovered appeal recommended that the appeal should be allowed and permission granted for a maximum period of three years.

Pickles disagreed, insisting there were “no very special circumstances justifying the harm to the green belt and any other harm caused by the dwelling which would justify granting planning permission in this case whether permanently or on a temporary basis”.

A suspended High Court injunction order now takes effect, with the result that Mr Fidler now has 90 days from the Secretary of State’s decision within which to demolish the dwelling, explained barrister Stephen Whale of Landmark Chambers, which successfully represented the planning authority at the injunction proceedings.

Read the full decision letter and inspectors report.

 

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