The widow of George Harrison has abandoned plans to erect a razor wire fence around her Oxfordshire home after planning officials said: “Razor wire has no place in Henley.”
Olivia Harrison had applied twice to increase security at the secluded property in which the former Beatle was stabbed by an intruder in 1999.
Three years ago, Rodney Bewes, the actor best known for playing Bob Ferris in the 1960s television sitcom The Likely Lads, claimed that the controversial fence had “almost killed” his pet cat Maurice.
He wrote to the local council to object to her then plan to renew almost 1,000 metres of galvanised razor wire that topped a 7ft high fence, claiming it made the neighbourhood look like a “war zone”.
Mrs Harrison eventually relented and erected wooden fencing instead.
But her application to replace a 300 yard section with the razor wire attracted equal wrath. Henley Town Council recommended that the request was refused and the 64-year-old decided to use tanalised soft wood instead.
Harrison died from cancer in 2001 but his widow remained in Friar Park, a 120-room Gothic mansion set in 35 acres of garden in the enclave of Gravel Hill.
She is said to remain haunted by the 1999 break-in, when the couple were confronted by Mark Abram, a “delusional” intruder who believed he was on a mission from God.
He repeatedly stabbed Harrison in the chest but his wife managed to fight him off with a poker and a table lamp.
Abram was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity and was sent to a secure psychiatric hospital but was later released, against Mrs Harrison’s wishes.
When she first applied to renew the razor wire fence, Mr Bewes wrote a furious letter to South Oxfordshire district council, stating that his cat Maurice had been injured several times on the fence, once severing an artery that nearly killed him.
“There are several other cats – people’s pets – that have been practically gored on that fence, it’s that dangerous,” he said.
“It makes me sad when I come home to such a beautiful place and see this thing that makes it look like a war zone. If everybody had razor wire around their gardens, can you imagine what it would look like?”
Mr Bewes said he was delighted with Mrs Harrison’s decision to replace the wire with wooden panels and said it looked “rather lovely”.
However, her latest application was met with similar outrage, with many neighbours warning that the wire was an eyesore and a danger to children and local wildlife.
Marin Akehurst, planning committee vice-chairman on Henley Town Council, said: “Razor wire has no place in Henley.”
In a letter of objection sent to the district council he said the security threat had been “exaggerated” and it would be dangerous to wildlife and out of keeping with the area.
An amended application for wooden fences has now been submitted and approved as it was deemed not to have a negative impact on the surrounding area or neighbours.
source the telegraph