A farmer who erected a castle and kept it hidden behind bales of hay and tarpaulin has lost a Court Battle to stop it being demolished under Planning Laws.
Eric Fiddler built his home - complete with battlements, portcullis, cannon, moat and dungeons - secretly, because he knew he would not get planning permission from his local authority, Middle Lower Piddlehampton & Upper Tichbury Council. When it was completed, he moved in with his wife and children and lived there under cover for 10 years. Then he removed the bales and tarpaulin, hoping to exploit a legal loophole stating that a property is not subject to planning enforcements if it has been complete for 10 years.
However, Middle Lower Piddlehampton & Upper Tichbury Council ruled that the dismantling of the bale-stack and tarpaulin camouflage constituted part of the building process, and that the building had therefore not been complete for the necessary statutory period.
Mr Fiddler subsequently appealed, and the case was heard at The Court of Extraordinary Pleas, under the auspices of Mr Justice Bagbottle-Clympsnatch, where the tomfoolery really began.
Mr Hessian Cummerbund, for the plaintiff, argued, qua vulva, that, since the building in question was a fortified dwelling, and had been continually occupied, it could be said to fall within the purview of the 1836 Act of Covert Shelter, and to stand, quod vapimenta ridiculo, outside the domain of modern planning regulations, by virtue of being an embattled dwelling standing within an erection of concealment in ulterio mambulas parvup falling within the definition of defensive structures given by the 1878 Act of Engrossment and Seisin.
Mr Salmondus Quex, for the defendants, countered that the structure of bales and tarpaulin could not be said to constitute a military device, being a mere voldium poltranus or heap erected for purely domestic purposes, and had nothing to do with the commandeerment of estates in times of war, notwithstanding the existence of embattled structures within the dwelling or the existence of an actual state of war (cf Regina v Captain Nautilus, 1887, in which a nautical clown who had stolen a goose was unable to claim sanctuary on a mock battleship, the state proving that the said vessel was not constructed for a military purpose, by a military agency, or from a military resource).
Mr Justice Bagbottle-Clympsnatch ruled that, though Mr Hessian Cummerbund might be said to have succeeded pannium volvo irlit in establishing an argument of mambulas parvup, he had not provided against the reductio anus bastinado evinced by Mr Salmondus Quex. "After all", quoth Mr Justice Bagbottle-Clympsnatch, "a trench dug by an infantryman during an siege or an invasion is not the same as a furrow ploughed by a Lincolnshire potato-farmer or a feeding-ditch made by a team of Suffolk fowl-husbandrymen, whether or nay the potatoes be set while the nation is at war in foreign climes, or indeed the plough be camouflaged like a chieftain tank or husbandrymen resplendent in ex-army fatigues or horsehair-plumed busby helmets".
Mr Justice Bagbottle-Clympsnatch concluded that Middle Lower Piddlehampton & Upper Tichbury Council had been correct to deny planning permission for the said dwelling, and that it should be demolished, since it must be, or be said to be, or be to be said, or to be said to be to be said to be said to be, a nebulous and untenable domestic fixture, cf Mrs Arquebus v The Giggleswick Penguin Farm Ltd, 1950, in which Mr Justice Mandible proved that the erection of a "penguin island" within land externally owned (and, vaper limnit bulbus nadir, the question of the existence or otherwise of Mrs Arquebus must be said to be, or to be, or to be said to be said to be, without substance in vapimenta nostrum) could not be justified by reference to a spurious need for additional sources of protein in a period of rationing.
"An Englishman's home may well be said to be, or be said, or be said to be said to be, his castle", observed Mr Justice Bagbottle-Clympsnatch, "but if it be built upon false foundations, then tumble it must, by jingo!"
Eric Fiddler spoke out yesterday. "This is ridiculous. Where would the heritage of this country be if planning permission had been around in the old days? How many castles would we have today if Middle Lower Piddlehampton & Upper Tichbury Council had existed at the time of King Norman or Arthur and his Knights of the Holy Grain?(sic). What about Stonehenge Castle?