Haystack House


Another story about a haystack and a house. This involves farmer Robert Fidler who, as the Daily Mail report
‘managed to secretly – and unlawfully – build the imposing mock Tudor structure in one of his fields, shielded behind a 40ft stack of hay bales covered by a huge tarpaulins.

Once it was finished, he and his family moved in and lived there for four years before finally revealing the development – complete with battlements and cannons – in August 2006.

Mr Fidler claims that because the building has been there for four years with no objections, it is no longer illegal.

But he is under siege from council planners, who say the castle at Honeycrock Farm, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, will have to be knocked down.

‘I can’t believe they want to demolish this beautiful house,’ said 59-year-old Mr Fidler. ‘To me they are no different than vandals who just want to smash it down.’


Mr Fidler, a farmer, erected the disguise in 2000 out of hundreds of 8ftx4ft bales of straw and covered the top with blue tarpaulin.

‘building the castle on the site of two grain silos at a cost of 50,000 GBP, he and his wife Linda went to extraordinary lengths to keep it secret. That included keeping their son Harry, now seven, away from playschool the day he was supposed to do a painting of his home in class.

‘We couldn’t have him drawing a big blue haystack – people might asked questions,’ said 39-year-old Mrs Fidler.

Mr Fidler, who has five children from a previous marriage, said: ‘We moved into the house on Harry’s first birthday, so he grew up looking at straw out of the windows.

‘We thought it would be a boring view but birds nested there and feasted on the worms. We had several families of robins and even a duck made a nest and hatched 13 ducklings on top of the bales.’

But neighbours were unimpressed.

One said: ‘Nobody thought anything of it when the hay went up. It was presumed he was building a barn or something similar.

‘It was a complete shock when the hay came down and this castle was in its place. Everyone else has to abide by planning laws, so why shouldn’t they?’

Is this really common practice in the fields of England? Are all those piles of hay really hiding illegal buildings?

Personally, I think I like the sound of living inside a well appointed haystack with maybe only a satellite dish, a garage door and a couple of Velux windows poking out.

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