Tim Burton erects fence around his Cotswolds home, angering neighbours

Villagers are left fuming after fence is erected around Hollywood filmmaker Tim Burton’s £2.9m Cotswolds home blocking locals from riverside walk

  • Residents in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, are up in arms over the 3ft fence
  • They say the ‘selfish and heartless’ wooden fence appeared two weeks ago
  • Claim it is ‘unauthorised’ and have launched a campaign to have it removed
  • They also claim it blocks a path used by the public to access weirs and pools
  • In 2018, Burton put up 7ft-tall fence which villagers objected to at the time
  • Permission was sought retrospectively and was been granted despite opposition

Villagers say they fence is ‘unauthorised’ and have launched a campaign to have it removed or ‘the heart of the village will be gone forever’.

They also claim it blocks a path used by the public to access weirs and pools around the River Thames and have threatened to tear it down if it is not taken away by officials.

It is understood the new fence is on land which belongs to Mr Burton’s eight-bedroom, Grade II listed 18th-century ‘gentleman’s residence’ which he bought in 2006 when he first got together with Harry Potter star Helena Bonham Carter.  

Hollywood director Tim Burton is facing backlash from his neighbours after a 3ft-tall fence (pictured) was erected near his £2.9million Cotswolds home – which locals say blocks their riverside walks

There appears to be a gate along the fence in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire. It is unclear where the gate is or where it leads

It is understood the new fence is on land which belongs to Mr Burton’s eight-bedroom, Grade II listed 18th-century ‘gentleman’s residence’ (pictured) 

It is not the first time Mr Burton has angered his neighbours with a fence on his land.

In 2018, he put up a 7ft-tall, 130 foot-long wooden structure which walkers said cuts out the light and narrows the public footpath next to the property.  

Permission was sought retrospectively and was granted despite opposition.

Resident Chris Dalton said he has opened a planning dispute against the new fence, based on the fact the house is a listed building and is next to a path often used by the public.

Villagers say they fence (pictured) is ‘unauthorised’ and have launched a campaign to have it removed or ‘the heart of the village will be gone forever’

They also claim it blocks a path used by the public to access weirs and pools around the River Thames and have threatened to tear it down if it is not taken away by officials

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 had also informed the Oxford County Council the footpath had been allegedly blocked and 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.

Mr Burton first bought the property when first got together with Harry Potter star Helena Bonham Carter, 54

‘[…] 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.’

Mr Burton bought the property in 2006

Other locals vented their anger online too.

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 spokesman 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 for Sutton Courtenay Richard Webber said there was already an ‘ongoing negotiation’ with the Hollywood director, which he described as ‘very delicate’.

It is not the first time Mr Burton has angered his neighbours with a fence on his land. In 2018, he put up a 7ft-tall, 130 foot-long wooden structure (pictured) which walkers said cuts out the light and narrows the public footpath next to the property 

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.

Permission was sought for the much-taller fence retrospectively and was been granted despite opposition

‘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.’ 

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. 

Mr Burton’s representatives have been approached for comment. 

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