Villagers triumph in ‘David and Goliath battle’ against millionaire cousin of Prince Harry’s best friend Guy Pelly who tried to block ‘100 year old’ footpath across his £1.25m estate
- Henry Pelly, 38, closed off a footpath after buying £1.25million home in Wiltshire
- But furious neighbours claimed path had been used by the public for 100 years
- Locals last year applied to Wiltshire Council for Watercress Walk to be reinstated
- Now a planning inspector has decided the path should be reopen to the public
Villages have won a lengthy battle against a wealthy landowner with links to Prince Harry after he was ordered to reopen a public footpath by his £1.25million mansion.
Henry Pelly caused uproar in 2016 when he shut a footpath running through the 17-acre estate of his six-bedroom Luccombe Mill at Bratton, Wiltshire.
Mr Pelly, whose cousin Guy is Prince Harry’s best friend, immediately faced opposition from locals, who claimed they had been able to walk through the grounds for ‘a hundred years.
Now after an astonishing ‘David against Goliath battle’ a planning inspector has told property developer Mr Pelly that the footpath must be reopened to the public.
Henry Pelly (left, with partner Will Jenkins) – whose family has links with Prince Harry – caused uproar when he shut the footpath after buying six bedroom Luccombe Mill at Bratton
Mr Pelly shut a footpath running through the 17-acre estate of his six-bedroom Luccombe Mill at Bratton, Wiltshire (pictured)
Henry Pelly is the cousin of Guy Pelly (shown left), who is a close and personal friend of Prince Harry
Katherine Beaumont, 72, who has been leading the battle to get the footpath reopened, stressed that locals ‘want to walk along it again as soon as possible’.
‘We have beaten him,’ she added. ‘It was a bit of a David against Goliath battle and we won the day; David won.
‘But it was more a question of what was right rather than trying to win. I am feeling quite elated’ it is great news. It was fair.
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‘I was thinking of future generations versus one owner who is there weekends most of the time.’
She claimed villagers were ‘painted as being senile or imbeciles with poor memories’ after claiming the footpath had been open for up to 100 years.
Outraged villagers said the footpath, known as the Watercress Walk, insisted it should be recognised as a public right of way in accordance with the law.
Outraged villagers said the footpath, known as the Watercress Walk (entrance pictured), insisted it should be recognised as a public right of way in accordance with the law
Katherine Beaumont (pictrued), who has been leading the battle to get the footpath reopened, stressed that locals ‘want to walk along it again as soon as possible’
Wiltshire Council then made a legal order recognising it as a footpath (pictured in relation to Mr Pelly’s house) after receiving representations from the 81 locals
But Henry and long-term partner Will said they were ‘determined to fight’ the campaign and referred the matter to their solicitors.
Wiltshire Council then made a legal order recognising it as a footpath after receiving representations from the 81 locals.
The council said it was satisfied it had been a footpath for at least 20 years, causing Mr Pelly to object.
Now, following a three-day public inquiry, a planning inspector has ruled it is a public footpath and must be re-opened.
Wiltshire Council said: ‘We are pleased the inspector has agreed with our original decision and for those who have campaigned for it to remain open
‘The Inspector has now ordered the path should be added as a public footpath and we will now work with the affected landowners to make the path available to the public again in the near future.’
Following a three-day public inquiry, a planning inspector has ruled it is a public footpath and must be re-opened
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