It’s not often that planning or ramblers’ right issues are of direct interest to IP lawyers. However, articles on the BBC website and in the Times have both highlighted the interface between these areas. It is reported that the parents of Catherine Zeta-Jones are considering applying for judicial review after a telecommunications company was given retrospective planning permission to continue trading from a location adjacent to the parent’s Mumbles home. The Zeta-Joneses argue that the company poses a risk to their security and that of their famous daughter and family when they come to visit. They also maintain that their privacy will be invaded. However, the owner of the business has said that the Zeta-Joneses’ privacy is at greater risk from paparazzi intrusion and Swansea County Council has stated that if the parents were desirous of more privacy, they should have located their newly-built home in a more secluded area. Meanwhile, the Times reports that Madonna is to appear before a public inquiry in May concerning the rights of ramblers to roam through her country estate, Ashcombe House. Again, she is citing privacy concerns, and has already won the right to stop a footpath from being opened 100 yards from her house.
While the IPKat understands that people in the public eye may have special security concerns, he is uncomfortable with the thought of celebrities (or even vicarious celebrities such as the Zeta-Joneses) being able to close off bits of the countryside that would otherwise be accessible to other users. He’s also not sure about the legitimacy of the celebrities’ claims. Everyone has privacy concerns when there are other land-users in close proximity. Unless it is shown that the celebrities are being specially targeted because of their celebrity status, there is no reason why they should be entitles to special treatment.
Find out where you have the right to roam here
How to stop rambling here
How to stop mumbles here
Tuesday, 23 March 2004
Posted by Unknown at 11:55:00 a.m.