[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 16 February, 2004, 16:44 GMT
Zeta house pulls in tourists
Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones's parents Dai and Pat will live at the house
Swansea leisure centre is closed and the future of the National Botanic Garden is in doubt - but Catherine Zeta Jones' new house is drawing the tourists to west Wales.

Star gazers are coming from as far as continental Europe to check out the home she is having built on a small exclusive estate in Mumbles, even though it is not yet completed.

On average seven parties of tourists a day, some in minibuses, are having to be moved on from the private site by builders.

Others are sitting in their cars eating ice cream as they watch the finishing touches added to the property that will be home to her parents, Dai and Pat, but also to Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas on their visits to Wales.

Calling for an ice cream and eating it whilst sat in a car staring into the site appears to be a popular pastime for people in Swansea
Vivienne Jenkins

The public interest has come to light as a result of a planning row between the Joneses and the builder of the development, Steve Gwynn.

Mr Gwynn, who will occupy one of the three properties on the estate, has applied to Swansea Council for planning permission to run a communications business from an outhouse on his property.

A solicitor acting for Zeta Jones' parents and CZ Investments has objected to the proposal.

In a letter to the planning authority, James Tonner said it would compromise his clients' privacy and security as the business will attract extra visitors to the estate, which will be protected by security gates.

'Substantial cost'

"The developer emphasised from the outset that the site would be an extremely prestigious and desirable development compromising three executive properties of substantial cost," he said.

"Our clients would be extremely concerned and alarmed that the privacy and security of the development would be jeopardised by virtue of visits to the site by members of staff."

Catherine Zeta Jones development
One of the houses on the development can be seen from the road

But Mr Gwynn says there will be an average of only three business deliveries a week to his premises.

And his colleague Vivienne Jenkins says celebrity spotters will cause far more disruption.

She said: "In the winter the number of sightseers attempting to access the site is somewhat lower than in the summer however we are removing approximately seven parties a day.

Helicopters

"It is not unusual for a minibus to pull up at the site entrance . . . many of these visitors have travelled a considerable distance, including mainland Europe.

"Calling at Fortes for an ice cream and eating it whilst sat in a car staring into the site appears to be a popular pastime for people in Swansea."

She said the situation got worse if Zeta Jones was featured heavily in the media and also complained of helicopters flying at low levels above the properties taking pictures.

"This disruption can only increase once the owner takes up residence," she added.

Swansea councillors will visit the site before ruling on the application on 2 March. It has attracted six other objections.




SEE ALSO:
Swansea celebrates Zeta's Oscar
24 Mar 03  |  Wales
Zeta wins 14,600 Hello! damages
07 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Douglases' night out in Swansea
03 Aug 03  |  Wales
Oscars list 250 best film rivals
31 Dec 03  |  Entertainment


RELATED BBCi LINKS:


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific