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Clarkson path inquiry under way

20 July 09 19:53 GMT

A public inquiry into a dispute over land on the Isle of Man which is owned by the BBC's Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has started.

It centres on whether there is an established public right of way south-east of his property at Langness.

Mr Clarkson's representative said there had never been any rights of way across the land but opponents said people had been using paths there for decades.

The inquiry is continuing at the Mount Murray hotel in Santon.

Holiday home

The director of highways, Bruce Hannay, said the Manx government's department of transport would take a neutral stance.

He told the hearing, definitive maps of the island's public rights of way, drawn up in 1971, show nothing beyond a road to a car park.

Around 40 people, including transport minister David Anderson and Mr Clarkson's wife Frances, attended the session on Monday as Inspector Roy Hickey began taking evidence.

He said he had been to the Langness peninsula twice and later this week would visit it again when those giving evidence would be able to accompany him.

Ian Costain, of the pressure group Public Rights of Way Langness (PRoWL), said he did not intend to call any witnesses but would show the paths had been used long enough to be classed as public rights of way.

Mr Clarkson put a fence up at his holiday home to protect his privacy.

Late last year members of Tynwald opposed a proposal for the creation of a new path around the Langness lighthouse.

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