Seven famous homes that had to be torn down over planning laws

Planning permissions become expensives lessons as some homeowners pay the price for shortcuts

Maira Butt
Tuesday 07 November 2023 18:44 GMT
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<p>Aerial pictures show the C-shaped building housing a spa pool built by Captain Tom’s daughter</p>

Aerial pictures show the C-shaped building housing a spa pool built by Captain Tom’s daughter

Captain Tom’s daughter has been ordered to demolish a charity building complete with luxury spa pool after she lost an appeal.

Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of the 100-year-old military veteran who raised nearly £40 million for the NHS, constructed the building on disused tennis courts including a luxury spa and hot tub.

They’ve since been given three months to pull down the unauthorised construction.

But she’s not the only one - through the years there have been plenty examples of well-known properties being torn down.

Hay! There’s a castle behind that

A Surrey farmer built a mock Tudor castle and hid it behind bales of hay for seven years before having to destroy it to avoid prison time.

Robert Fidler, built the four bedroom property complete with turrets, go-kart track, a lake, bridge and “marquee structure”.

It was discovered in 2007 by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and a demolition was ordered.

The mock Tudor castle was hidden behind bales of hay before being discovered by the local council and demolished

Robert Fidler hid construction for years behind huge bales of hay

Millionaire pensioner jailed over man-cave

A grandfather of five was sentenced to six weeks in prison after he refused to demolish “Britain’s best man-cave” following a marathon battle with the local council which lasted eight years.

Graham Wildin, 70, built a 10,000 square foot home sport and leisure complex which included a mini-casino, squash court, bowling alley and cinema.

The millionaire accountant ignored repeated orders by the Forest of Dean Council over ongoing construction. The court did not accept the pensioner’s claims that he had completed most of the clearing work himself.

A court refused to adjourn the case after Mr Wildin claimed he needed time to apply for a solicitor and get legal aid. It is also alleged that he purchased neighbouring land and properties in a bid to stifle dissent to the construction and to protect his luxury haven.

He was ordered to pull down the complex within 18 weeks of his exit from prison. As of May 2023, the “man cave” was still standing. In September he was given an injunction for “nuisance” after neighbours complained about his classic car collection and CCTV cameras.

Inside the leisure centre built by Graham Wildin, dubbed “Britain’s best man-cave”

Tory donor to demolish five star caviar facial hotel

Billionaire Tory donor, Surinder Arora, was told to demolish the five star Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel after he built an extra wing and extended into the eaves without planning permission.

The site was the backdrop of post-brexit deals between Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen and offered caviar facials.

Five luxury treehouses were also threatened when he began building them eight months before planning permission. The Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel costs £1,000 a night for a suite and £400 for a standard room.

In October, he offered to rip down his mansion to keep the five star hotel.

The billionaire tory donor offered to demolish his mansion in order to save the hotel

Tiny house, tiny problem

A homeowner who built a tiny house instead of a garage was ordered to pull it down after inspectors found it had a “pedestrian door”, multiple rooms including two in the roof, all spread out over nearly two floors.

Wales Online reported an inspector said: “Since the appeal building bears little resemblance to the scale and design of the approved single-storey garage, it does not benefit from that planning permission.

“The requirements of the notice are: demolish the entire unauthorised detached structure and remove all demolished building materials and rubble from the premises.”

Planning inspectors found that the building did not resemble a garage

Two inches too far

A London couple who built an £80,000 extension two inches too close to their neighbour’s home were ordered to demolish the construction and to pay £200,000 in legal fees on top.

Shabaz and Shakira Ashraf were accused of deliberately building on neighbour’s land “causing damp and mould”.

An expert surveyor found the building had encroached by 68mm.

The judge found that Mrs Ashraf had said to her neighbours during a row over the issue: “If you think we have come over, then go to court.”

A 68mm encroachment cost the Ashrafs £200,000 in legal fees

Treehouse grandma surrenders to County laws

A Florida grandma was pushed out of the treehouse she’d been living in for twenty years when Miami-Dade County deemed it “unsafe”.

Shawnee Chasser, 72, accumulated over $40,000 in fines for the house she moved into after the death of her son.

After seven years of fighting, she complied with demands and moved out of the property, beginning the process to tear it down.

The 72 year old grandma had lived in the treehouse for two decades before surrendering to local planning regulations

Pembrokeshire ‘hobbit house’ saved

However, one couple did manage to dodge an order to tear down their beloved ‘hobbit house’ after drawing the support of over 100,000 people worldwide.

A Pembrokeshire couple who built the home as an alternative to their damp caravan spent three years battling courts to keep the place.

The quaint turf-roofed roundhouse was affectionately called the “hobbit house” after resemblance to the Lord of the Rings movies.

Over 100,000 people were in uproar over the suggested demolition of the “beautiful” hobbit house

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