Villagers are celebrating after defeating a Saudi prince in a three-year battle to save a historic footpath.
He was backed by Kent county council, which formally imposed the restriction, and fences were put up blocking the path. But local people fought back, claiming they had not been consulted about the decision, and forced a public inquiry. After hearing their evidence, the Planning Inspectorate overturned the decision.
Miss Sargent added: “Fairlawne are good to the village – they do keep it very nice, but then they do things that do upset some of us, especially older people who have been in the village much longer than the tenant of that house.”
In the 17th century, the Fairlawne Estate was owned by Sir Henry Vane the Elder, secretary of state to Charles I, but it changed hands to the Cazalet family in the 19th century. Sir Peter Cazalet was the trainer of horses owned by the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who would stay at the estate on visits.
Viv Packer, who led the campaign, said: “The path has been there since Roman times and when the Cazalets owned the estate and trained horses for our royals, the Queen Mother used to stay and they never had problems with security. It would have been dreadful to lose it; it is such a lovely path. We are pleased and slightly surprised, because it comes down to the issue of public enjoyment.”
Nobody from the estate was available comment.