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Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Clooney objects to $15m town plan
George Clooney
George Clooney is not happy about a development near his villa
George Clooney is leading a residents' revolt against the mayor of a small town in northern Italy.

The star, who owns a villa in Laglio on the shores of Lake Como, is urging his neighbours to sign a petition against further development of the town.

The mayor wants to spend $15m (7.5m) building parking spaces and a pontoon bridge which would pass right in front of the Hollywood heart-throb's villa.

Mr Clooney is threatening to quit the town if the plans go ahead.

In the past strict planning laws have curbed development around the lake, leaving small, unspoilt towns along its shores.

The rich and famous have always considered Lake Como the perfect spot for mountain air, spectacular views and seclusion.

So desirable are the villas that on the rare occasion one comes up for sale, the owner can usually name their price.

Mr Clooney bought the 15-bedroom Villa Oleandra for $10m (5m) in 2002. The houses close by have almost tripled in value.

But since he arrived in Laglio, things have begun to change. The star of Ocean's 13 says the town, which has a population of 900, is being reshaped in concrete.

The mayor's current plans include a car park, lifts and a floating walkway, which would lead from the centre of town to a platform right in front of Mr Clooney's villa.

The small public beach next to his villa - which he tried without success to buy two years ago to ensure his privacy - would be paved over to form a piazza, under the plans.

Mr Clooney took the unusual step of attending a meeting of the Laglio protest committee this week to add his voice to the chorus of neighbourhood objection.

But he denied that it was simply a nimby (not-in-my-backyard) protest.

"It's got to stop," said the actor-turned-civic protester. "I don't want my presence here affecting the local population. The building work is only being done because I live here. And unless it stops I'm going to have to move."

The actor has now added his name to the petition to stop the work.

Manuela Nuti, head of the residents' committee, who described the plans as "invasive for our town, and our lives," said the committee has high hopes for the impact of Clooney's support.

She said: "We have over a thousand signatures, but with a signature from George Clooney himself - that has got to be worth another hundred!"

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