Twiggy being dragged to local row after land sale in historic West Sussex village

Twiggy, 72, is dragged into local row after land sale in historic West Sussex village paves the way for a 200-home development ‘which will spoil the rural idyll and affect the wildlife’

  • Twiggy has been dragged into an argument over the sale of her house in a historic village
  • Her former neighbors in Barnham claim the sale has ruined the idyll
  • Model, patron of British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold house in 2020
  • New development of 200 homes on ‘pristine farmland’ has been given the green light










She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of rural affairs.

But now Twiggy has been dragged into a local argument over the sale of her home in a historic village.

Her former neighbors in Barnham, West Sussex, claim the sale has ruined their rural idyll and will affect the local wildlife.

The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020. A series of events followed the sale, with a new development of 200 homes on ‘pristine farmland’ now given the go-ahead.

It meant that the lower half of the house’s large garden was to become an access road to the new estate. But the 72-year-old, aka Dame Lesley Lawson, has moved out of the neighborhood.

She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of rural affairs. But now Twiggy has been dragged into a local fight over the sale of her house in a historic village

The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020. A series of events followed the sale, with a new development of 200 homes on 'pristine farmland' now getting the green light.

The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020. A series of events followed the sale, with a new development of 200 homes on ‘pristine farmland’ now getting the green light.

Former neighbor Graham Fields, 65, an electrical engineer, said Twiggy and husband Allan Leigh Lawson decided to sell after another neighbor, air traffic controller Paul Voller, made plans with developers to build houses on fields behind the house.

But the fields are cut off from existing roads, so the model’s 1.2 hectares became critical for access.

Mr. Fields said, “When we heard that Twiggy and her husband were selling their house, we learned that they had sold their land to Mr. Voller.”

The company working with Mr. Voller applied to build the houses with access through what was the paddock at the bottom of Twiggy’s yard. Arundel’s district council dismissed the plans as inappropriate.

But a planning inspector ruled in an appeal last week that the £100 million scheme could go ahead, spoiling views of the South Downs. After purchasing the property, Mr Voller kept the plot of land at the back while the house and smaller garden were bought by someone else in 2020 for £705,000.

It is clear that at one point Twiggy and Mr Lawson wanted over £1million for the whole plot. They now live in a nearby village.

Mr Lawson, 78, an actor and director, told the Daily Mail last night that they didn’t have to justify the sale, saying: ‘What anyone does with the property after that has nothing to do with me.’

Sold: The five bedroom house in Barnham, West Sussex

Sold: The five bedroom house in Barnham, West Sussex

Row: Land at the back of the garden to be developed

Row: Land at the back of the garden to be developed

He added: ‘We sold the house because we had grandchildren and needed a bigger one. I didn’t expect to have to qualify why. We sold the house and garden as one.’

The couple, reportedly worth up to £50 million, bought the five-bed house in Barnham, near Arundel, for £790,000 in 2017.

They used it as their second home while living in a £3 million flat in West London.

But some residents are concerned about the effect of the sale on wildlife. Mr. Fields said, “There are a thousand car journeys a day through her former garden. I release rescue hedgehogs into my yard every year after a charity has assessed the area as suitable… there will be less room for them to forage.”

Clinical services manager Sydnee Kalinski, 44, said: ‘This means concreting one of the best places in our village for conservation.’

Barnham, with a population of about 1,400, is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a pre-date church.

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