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2006-Jul-29: Will Sir Paul Lose His Timber Lodge?

Sir Paul has been refused retrospective permission for the secluded timber lodge and gym he built in the grounds of his farm near Rye in East Sussex. Despite his claims that he needs the two-bedroom one-and-a-half-storey lodge to maintain his privacy, the council claims that Sir Paul failed to get planning permission to construct the buildings. Earlier this year, Sir Paul had appealed (See January 25, 2006 ) but his leave of appeal against the council's decision has run out. The Rother District Council has warned that if the issue is not resolved soon, the lodge will need to be torn down.

Frank Rallings, the council's head of planning, said he expected that Sir Paul would submit revised applications to justify the building but so far it's not happened:

"After four years, a building which has been constructed without planning permission becomes immune from enforcement action, so the clock is ticking for us. We cannot let this go on forever, but we may have to resolve it through enforcement and appeal. We will be seeking to enforce the order to demolish the lodge and gym annex. He has the right to make another application on fresh grounds."

Sir Paul's statement to the planning council stated that he as been a landowner in the area for many years, with his farm producing crops and wool. The statement went on to say:

"The owner has a requirement for privacy, seclusion and security that the buildings at Woodlands Farm cannot provide. This is due to the proximity of the public footpath that passes by the farmhouse and through the farmyard and also the activities connected with the working farm and machinery movements creating noise disturbance and safety issues. The lodge provides quiet, secluded and secure accommodation and is used only in lieu of the farmhouse, which will always be vacant when the lodge is occupied. The intention is not to increase the amount of residential property.''

An aide to Sir Paul told reporters: "Paul claims the lodge has no environmental impact, but because of who he is they (the council) are not budging."

To further complicate the issue, it has been reported that Heather Mills and the couple's daughter Beatrice have been living in the lodge to escape the media attention surrounding the couple's separation. The timber lodge is only 200 yards from the main house, allowing Sir Paul to spend time with his two-year-old daughter while lawyers process the couple's divorce.

Meanwhile, Britain's Mail On Sunday newspaper is reporting that Heather Mills has purchased a luxury home 15 minutes away from Sir Paul's estate. Land Registry documents show that the five-bedroom converted barn was purchased by Heather for $1 million on May 26, so Heather and Beatrice will not be living in the lodge on the grounds of Sir Paul's estate. One of Heather's new neighbors is thrilled:

"I am a huge Beatle's fan and so are my children, so it was quite surreal to see Paul McCartney and Heather coming and going."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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