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Beatle widow’s bid to improve security sparks tree concern
Published 11/02/13

THE widow of Beatle George Harrison wants to install a steel railing to protect her Henley home from intruders.

But town councillors have objected on the advice of a forestry official.

Olivia Harrison is seeking permission to put the 2m high railing at Friar Park beyond the existing fenced boundary at Gravel Hill.

According to the planning application, this part of the boundary by the Grade II listed Lower Lodge “enjoys little protection” from trespassers.

It says: “The railing is to be set back 1.5m from the property boundary against the existing tree cover and then set back to 3m behind the property boundary in line with the front of Lower Lodge.

“The existing pyracantha hedge immediately behind the boundary will be both preserved and thickened to provide screening to the new railing.

“The existing clipped topiary will be retained, as will the existing ornamental tree just behind the boundary in front of Lower Lodge.

“The railing will be finished in a matt black polyester powder paint coating. This will minimise its visual impact when seen against the screening vegetation and Lower Lodge behind.

“The design of the railing to be kept as simple and lightweight as possible, while fulfilling its necessary security role.

“The railing has no access implications — by its nature, it is meant to keep intruders out.” The forestry officer from South Oxfordshire District Council says the railings could damage protected trees, adding: “The proposed railings are well inside the root protection area of a number of trees, despite only one being plotted on the submitted plan. Additional information is required.”

Henley Town Council’s planning committee has agreed a “holding objection”.

Chairman Dieter Hinke said: “Forestry would like us to have a holding objection. They are concerned that the fence would damage trees.”

The Henley Society says it couldn’t form a view on the application because it “lacks adequate information on the relationship of the new railing to the listed boundary wall and existing trees”.

The district council will make a final decision by next Friday. In November, Mrs Harrison withdrew plans to re-fence a boundary of her home with razor wire following objections from councillors who said the security threat had been exaggerated and that the razor wire was dangerous to wildlife and out of keeping with its surroundings.

It was the second time in three years that Mrs Harrison had tried to improve security.

Her first application in 2009 led to opposition from neighbours, including actor Rodney Bewes, who lives in nearby Hop Gardens.

It was approved by South Oxfordshire District Council but Mrs Harrison then refenced the 1,000-yard section without using razor wire.

The boundary fence was first erected after a man broke into the couple’s home in 1999 and stabbed the musician.

Published 11/02/13

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