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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Safety fears at Richards' home
Keith Richards with Mick Jagger on stage
Richards is currently on tour with the Rolling Stones
Rock hellraiser Keith Richards has backed a plan that would see the public kept away from his Sussex mansion.

Richards wants improved security and privacy after a footpath running alongside his home, at West Wittering, near Chichester, caused a string of problems.

A fan who attempted to climb into his home provided a stark security warning to the guitarist on top of the privacy issues of people looking into his house and calling his name.


The grounds of privacy and security are considered to be rather weak

West Sussex County Council
Richards was asked by a local environment agency to upgrade the footpath to be a cycle route.

But he said he would only agree to the increase in usage if the path was diverted to the other side of a field.

"He has a footpath which runs right alongside his house and it really is a significant problem for security and privacy," a spokesman for Chichester Harbour Conservancy said.

'Too much'

The agency put the cycle plan to Richards as part of a larger scheme to create a route for cyclists from Chichester to the coast.

But Richards said that allowing cyclists as well as walkers would "be just too much", the spokesman said.

Keith Richards on stage
Richards bought the house in 1966
So the guitarist put forward an alternative plan that would avoid his house and follow the far edge of an adjacent field.

But that is likely to be rejected by the local council.

"Even taking into account the applicant's special circumstances, the grounds of privacy and security are considered to be rather weak," a report by West Sussex County Council said.

Richards already has a "substantial" water-filled moat as well as fences, trees and bushes that the council says "provide a very strong physical barrier" to the property.

Richards bought the Redlands mansion in 1966 after finding fame with the Rolling Stones, and it was the scene of an infamous 1967 drugs bust in which he and Mick Jagger were arrested.

He is currently on the band's 40th anniversary tour in the United States.


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