Harry Potter castle to have ‘prison fence’ erected as owner Duke of Northumberland tries to deter fly-tippers
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One of the richest aristocrats in the UK, the Duke of Northumberland, is at loggerheads with locals as he plans to erect a “prison” style fence around his castle known from the Harry Potter film series. The move, he claims, is to protect his property from fly-tippers.
The Duke, Ralph Percy, is fed-up with finding waste and rubbish dumped in the spawning grounds around his Alnwick Castle home. A spokesperson for Alnwick Castle said: “We applied and have been granted permission for a new fence covering a small area at the southern boundary of the castle, next to the Greenwell Road car park.
“This is designed to prevent regular occurrences of individuals accessing the area to illegally fly-tip waste. Although there were three objections, we are pleased that the council recognised that it was an appropriate application.”
The 11th century castle has attracted tourists from all over the world as the grounds were used to film two Harry Potter films while the plush state rooms were featured in hit TV series Downton Abbey. In addition to being a tourist attraction, the 66-year-old Duke lives in the castle with his wife, the Duchess of Northumberland Jane, 64.
The Duke and Duchess, worth an estimated £315 million, have expressed concern after an increase in fly-tipping and “anti-social behaviour” has been reported around the castle. The couple have now been granted planning permission to replace a stone perimeter wall and barbed wire with a two-metre high green “mesh fence”.
Northumberland Estates, which handles business interest and property portfolio for the Duke, claims the new fence will enhance the castle. But some Alnwick locals have slammed the plans, saying it will spoil the famous landmark.
Lodging an objection with Northumberland County Council, one local, George Skipper said: “At best this will look like a theme park, at worst a young offenders’ institution.”
Andrew Duff, who lives yards from the castle, added: “The mesh fencing has an industrial appearance more suited to a business park or school site,” and that “[the fence] creates an unfriendly and negative impression for such an important location.”
Local business owner Samantha Hobrough said: “The proposed wire fencing is inappropriate within the heritage context of the castle and environs.”
Maria Youngs, 40, said: “I respect the fact that the duke needs to protect his home from fly-tippers and ticket dodgers. Surely there is a better design than this ugly fencing which looks more like the kind you see surrounding prisons to keep the inmates from escaping."
Writing on a local Facebook page, one user said: "Looks like they’re getting ready to film the next Harry Potter movie: HMP Hogwarts!", with another adding: "Fly-tippers and free-loaders Expelliarmus!"