The Crown Prince of Dubai put up a six-foot security fence around his £75 million estate because ‘members of the public hurled abuse at his guards and trespassed on the grounds’.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum erected the green metal fence around his Surrey home last year and was slammed by neighbours who claimed that it blocks wildlife corridors between Chobham Common and the previously-open estate.
They also claimed that the billionaire raised the fence without asking for permission.
His development company submitted a retrospective application for the fence and gates in January, but neighbours say that it is full of ‘false claims’ – including a declaration that work has yet to start.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum erected the green metal fence around his Surrey home last year
Photographs of the site from December 2018 show the fence is already in place.
In planning documents, the Sheikh’s security contractors, Knight Security Group, say that the fence was erected following a number of incidents involving members of the public, one of which included someone hurling ‘verbal abuse’ at guards.
Tim Knight, Managing Director of the company, said in planning documents: ‘We are very concerned about the potential implications of members of the public gaining unauthorised access to the site.
‘Our officers do their best, but they are limited by the environment they operated in.
‘Our officers are well trained in customer service and fully aware of how to politely address the issues they face.
‘The issues the officers have regularly faced many times a day over several years include members of the public leaving the footpath and crossing fence line boundaries when they are aware of the footpath.
‘We believe this happens because the profile of the site and residents, who the officers are there to protect.
‘Vehicles have gained access to the site by cutting the previous fence. When challenged, our officers have been subjected to a threat to their lives.’
He has now claimed that he put up the fence because members of the public hurled abuse at his guards
Mr Knight also added that members of the public would often hurl ‘verbal abuse and racism’ at his officers and that dog owners would allow their animals to ‘act aggressively’.
He added: ‘Officers inform dog walkers of the rules of the footpath and, further along the footpath when they believe they are out of view, dog walkers ignoring these rules and release their dogs to roam the client’s property.
‘Historically, issues occurred up to ten times per day and in many cases more than that.’
He also claimed that they had recorded a man ‘looking at children on horses’ in the estate and ‘intruders shooting wildlife’.
The Sheikh’s planning agent, Carter Planning, added in planning documents: ‘The Planning Officer will be aware of the identity of the occupiers and their need for security.
‘In addition, the relatively isolated nature and obscured locations of these fence lines means there is a need for security measures on the sites which is a material consideration to which significant weight should be attached.’
The Sheikh was slammed by neighbours who claimed that it blocks wildlife corridors between Chobham Common and the previously-open estate
Billionaire racecourse owner Sheikh Mohammed – who has more than 30 children – is ruler of Dubai and uses his Longcross Estate in Surrey to escape the summer heat.
In an objection to Runnymede Borough Council, neighbour Tom Barr said: ‘Regarding the application for planning permission, many false claims are made.
‘Firstly, the applicant claims a 1.8m fence height – yet it is in fact 2.2315m high by the applicant’s own dimensioned drawing.
‘Section 5 [of the application] has been falsely completed. The work/change of use is completed, yet the applicant claims it has not started.
‘No wildlife surveys were carried out prior to the illegal development, despite parts of the developed area bordering a SSSI, involving the extensive clear cutting of trees and being close (well within 500 metres) to waterbodies highly likely to contain great crested newts.
In a planning document, the Sheikh claimed that dog walkers and local trespassed on his property
His development company submitted a retrospective application for the fence and gates in January, but neighbours say that it is full of ‘false claims’ – including a declaration that work has yet to start
Photographs of the site from December 2018 show the fence is already in place, despite the planning application stating otherwise
‘The applicant has shown a cynical disregard and contempt for planning procedures.
‘The new security fencing is entirely inappropriate on the border of the common.
‘It is visually intrusive and, aside from mostly being powder coated green, more suited to a prison or a factory boundary, rather than the boundary of a SSSI.
‘If permission is given – or if it is refused and removal of the fences not robustly enforced – that dereliction would undoubtedly be seen by the public as ‘one rule for the rich another for the poor’ with our local natural and historical environment ultimately paying the price.’
Carter Planning added that a Planning Enforcement Officer from Runnymede Borough Council had been to inspect the fence and concluded that no protected trees had been harmed in the erection of the fence lines.
Before the fence was erected, locals claim the estate was mostly bordered by a lower wooden fence, but in some places there was no boundary at all.
His development company, Smech Property Management Limited, then submitted a planning application, on January 4.
The application is now being considered by Runnymede Borough Council, which could approve the plans or rule the huge fence must be torn down.
The application form asked ‘Has the work or change of use already started?’ and the ‘no’ box was ticked.
But on the front cover of the application, it states it the plea is ‘retrospective’ – and this is a ‘revised description as fencing has been erected’.
The Sheikh is the owner of the Godolphin stables and has an estimated personal fortune of £15bn.
Representatives of the Sheikh have been contacted for comment.