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Clarkson told to reopen footpath by Isle of Man home

11 May 10 19:39 GMT

Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been ordered to reopen a footpath through his property after a public inquiry on the Isle of Man.

The BBC Top Gear presenter sparked protests from ramblers when he diverted a path on land at his holiday home, a lighthouse on the Langness peninsula.

He claims there had never been any rights of way across the land.

But a public inquiry concluded he interfered with a right of way and he must now reinstate the path.

Mr Clarkson has 28 days to appeal against the ruling.

Health Minister David Anderson MHK, who was acting transport minister at the time the inquiry began, said anyone was able to object to the report's findings.

He said: "If any objections are received, and are not subsequently withdrawn, the matter has to be brought to the High Court for resolution."

'Horrible experiences'

Mr Anderson said the inquiry inspector, Roy Hickey, said "strong and persuasive evidence" had been put forward by members of the public that they had the right to use the paths on Langness.

He said that all of the paths on Langness, apart from five, should be dedicated as public rights of way.

The five paths that may remain private include three leading from the lighthouse to the shore south and south east of the lighthouse, a fourth running across the peninsula and a fifth crossing the golf course.

Mr Clarkson's wife, Frances Cain, said the family had received unwanted attention from passers-by and put a fence up to protect their privacy.

"This is the place that I brought my family, my husband and my children, with such a happy heart, and we've had such horrible experiences," she said.

However, the report's outcome was welcomed by Rushen MHKs Juan Watterson, Quintin Gill and Phil Gawne.

All three MHKs said in a joint statement that they felt it was a "victory for common sense".

They said: "Whilst not condoning the actions of some of the more militant campaigners who used dogs to deliberately distress wildlife or impose on the privacy of the landowners, the MHKs did feel that this was a victory for common sense and people power."

Mr Gill said he was "delighted" at the outcome.

"This has been an issue I have campaigned on for almost five years," he said.

"I am delighted that Mr Hickey has determined that rights of way have been established over the Langness peninsula."

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