Monday, 18 February 2019

Billionaire withdraws bridleway fence plan

A BILLIONAIRE has withdrawn plans to fence off a bridleway near his home following criticism.

Tara Getty, grandson of American oil tycoon J Paul Getty, wanted to install deer fencing and electric gates on the public right of way alongside Twigside Farm in Ibstone.

The 1.8m-high fence would have run along the bridleway, which is part of a longer countryside walk, and cut into part of it, reducing its width to single file in places.

The route would also have been diverted around the electric gates either side of the farm.

The plans were criticised by the Open Spaces Society, Buckinghamshire Ramblers, Buckinghamshire County Council and Ibstone Parish Council, which said the fencing would spoil people’s enjoyment of the bridleway and give the impression that it is on private land.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Henley-based Open Spaces Society, said she was pleased that the “obnoxious” plans had been withdrawn.

She said: “This is a beautiful, quiet valley in an area of immense beauty and the fencing and electronic gates would have made it appear private as well as being a blot on the landscape.

“The objectors argued that you cannot in any case use a planning application to move a public highway.

“We trust that Mr Getty will abandon any plans to mess about with this splendid, direct and much-loved bridleway through the valley.”

In a previous planning application, representatives of Mr Getty said that walkers using the bridleway often stopped to take pictures of his property, including the gym.

They said the public could see into a living room and even watch a large wall-mounted television.

There are currently signs in place which request that walkers, cyclists and horse riders use a “preferred” route north of the site rather than walking past the farm.

Jonathan Clark, strategic access officer for Buckinghamshire County Council, had recommended that the application was refused on the grounds of public amenity loss.

He added that he didn’t believe the fencing would be effective at keeping deer out of the site as the gaps in it would be too wide.

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