VILLAGERS are furious after a fence was built around a Hollywood filmmaker's £2.9m home allegedly blocking access to the riverside walk.
Tim Burton moved into the Grade II listed home in Oxfordshire with his then partner Helena Bonham Carter in 2008.
But locals claim a 3ft wooden fence appeared around the 18th century property two weeks ago blocking a public path used to access weirs and pools around the River Thames.
Villagers claimed the fence is "unauthorised" and spoils the view.
They are mounting a campaign to have it removed fearing that "the heart of the village will be gone forever."
It is understood the fence is on land belonging to Mr Burton's home but blocks a route the locals have used for years.
Locals have threatened to tear it down if it is not removed and branded the structure as "selfish and heartless."
Resident Chris Dalton said he opened a planning dispute against the fence based on the house being a listed building and next to a path often used by the public.
Posting in a local Facebook group, he wrote: "I live in the village and believe there are a few things we can do to organise and fight the fence.
"I have opened a planning dispute against the fence […] This is based on it being a listed building and being next to a footpath.
"They should have put in planning.
"If everyone would email [the council] to add to the complaint the would be appreciated.
"I believe that ultimately money wins planning disputes but this is worth a try."
He said he also informed the Oxford County Council the footpath had been allegedly blocked.
He added: "If we can prove that there has been continuous access to these areas for over 20 years then we can get them on the map and protected.
"The gates would have to be removed and safe access provided forever.
"I'm going to need the help of the community for this to be successful. Please comment below if you'd be interested, I will be setting up a separate Facebook group for the cause.
"The ponds area has been used for generations and if we do nothing then the heart of the village will be gone forever."
Other locals vented their anger online too.
If we do nothing then the heart of the village will be gone forever
Nicola Lewis wrote: "I'm now in my 50s but I grew up with everyone having fun down there and took my children there and now take my grandchildren.
"It should not be taken from the public – Helena and Tim have more than enough space, don't take ours."
Luke Stroud added: "My family have been in the village for four generations and all used the Weir pools.
"If it comes to it I'll remove the fence myself."
Deb Himpson said: "I tell you one thing, if I was ever as rich as a billionaire, I'd give not take!
"If that was my land, I would have made it back to the island of the sand.
"I'm sorry but when you live in a village, it does not matter who you are, village life is about community, join in sometimes – not once has Helena or Tim given anything to the village!
"This makes me really want to move away, I can't think of this village without it. Whatever the reason, I think it's sad, wrong, selfish and heartless!"
A spokesperson for the district council said the site has not been visited yet but that an investigation into the "allegation of an unauthorised erection of a fence over two metres" had been opened.
Parish councillor Richard Webber said there was already an "ongoing negotiation" with the Hollywood director, which he described as "very delicate".
Mr Webber confirmed the property owner is Mr Burton and added: "We are pushing on behalf of the local community to remove the fence but the legalities are tricky.
"These fences are within a small extra little lump of island that's well away from the main garden that has been used for public access but the land is actually owned by the big house.
"It's all sensitive because the fence has actually been put up on the owner's private land so they have a right to do that but the issue is the footpath has been used as a right of way for many years now.
"What locals don't actually quite realise is that if the fence was taken down, they would have no right to roam, they would only have the right to use it as a path to access the edge of the water.
"We are trying to avoid a lot of cost and find an amicable solution because the person who lives in the house clearly wants amicable relations with all of the locals."
Mr Burton bought the eight bedroom mansion back in 2006, sharing it with his partner at the time, actress Helena Bonham Carter.
The home once belonged to Bonham Carter's great grandfather Herbert Henry Asquith – the prime minister who took Britain into the First World War.
It is believed that Asquith entertained Winston Churchill on the property's lawn.
The couple split in 2014 but it is understood they remain friends and both spend time at the country home with their children.
Johnny Depp is also rumoured to have spent time at the historic mansion following his bitter divorce from Amber Heard.
Mr Burton angered locals in 2018 when a 7ft fence was put up in the back garden next to a footpath outwith planning permission.
Permission was sought retrospectively two months later and was granted despite opposition.
The Sun Online has approached Mr Burton's representative for comment.
Source: Read Full Article