After a tense four year wait Daniel Brown and his family have had the house they built in their own copse declared legal.

Daniel Brown said that, after gradually being priced out of the housing market as well as suffering multiple break-ins and a fire at his stables in the copse, he decided that the only option was to build their home on the plot.

[adsenseyu1]He had owned the plot for some 18 years and knew that unless he could keep the authorities from discovering the house for four years he would need planning permission.

Understanding the risks that it would have to be pulled down if discovered he set about the task and the family have lived there s5nce 2007. And once the four years were up he put them on the electoral register and applied for a certificate of lawful use.

Although they had lived there for all that time no-one questioned it even though electricity and water were plumbed into the property. They also had mail deliveries.

Some of the locals are not happy that they have ‘got away’ with this, but as Mr Brown said, it is not a loophole it is the law.

With house prices and rents where they are what we need is more of this. That no-one noticed shows that the planning laws are flawed. Why should you need permission if it’s out of view. Planning permission just gives local busybodies the chance to be ….well …. busybodies.

This is true entrepreneurship by the Browns.


One previous attempt at the same thing, when Robert and Linda Fidler built a mini castle behind straw bales, failed because the court ruled that removing the bales to reveal the structure was the last act of building the property so the four years commenced when it was revealed in all its glory.

But in the Brown’s case no such subterfuge was conducted or necessary. After all, you couldn’t see the house for the trees.

And if you doubt that building your own home is beyond you then take a gander at and the low impact ‘hobbit house’.

View Towards Westcott, Surrey-by Peter Trimming

Image by Peter Trimming [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons