Guy Ritchie gets green light to add two lakes to his £9million estate

Guy Ritchie gets green light to add two sporting lakes to his £9million Wiltshire estate despite environmentalists’ fears they are ‘alien to the landscape’

  • Lakes are to improve shooting and fishing facilities at Ashcombe Estate in Tollard Royal near Salisbury
  • But environmentalists from Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty were unhappy about it
  • Ritchie was handed 1,134-acre Ashcombe House as part of a £50million divorce settlement with Madonna
  • Ritchie was given permission in 2009 for a sporting lake and estate is now a top game bird shooting venue

Film director Guy Ritchie has been granted permission to add two lakes to his £9million Wiltshire estate.

The lakes are said to be required to improve shooting and fishing facilities at his Ashcombe Estate at Tollard Royal near Salisbury, but environmentalists had protested that the features would be ‘alien to the landscape’.

Protesters from the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty said the areas impacted by the development seemed to be much bigger than the actual areas of the lakes shown on the location plan.


Film director Guy Ritchie (left) has been granted permission to add two lakes to his Ashcombe Estate (right) in Wiltshire

Ritchie applied for planning permission to convert the derelict farm buildings in 2010, but did not start work until late 2016

Ashcombe House was originally built in 1686, although the house situated there now is from the mid-18th century

But Wiltshire Council has backed the proposals from the King Arthur director, who was handed the 1,134-acre Ashcombe House as part of a near-£50million divorce settlement with his ex-wife Madonna ten years ago.

Ashcombe House was originally built in 1686, although the house situated there now is from the mid-18th century. Ritchie was given planning permission in 2009 for a sporting lake and it is now a top game bird shooting venue.

A CCAONB spokesman said: ‘Lakes are not typical features of the chalk landscape. There does not appear to be a landscape appraisal or assessment of the landscape changes that these developments would bring about.

‘There is no indication where the spoil would go from the excavations needed to create the lakes. Without that information the assumption has to be that it will be used around the lakes to change the topography. 

‘The areas impacted upon by the development do, therefore, appear to be significantly greater than the actual areas of the lakes shown on the location plan.

Ritchie was handed Ashcombe House as part of a near-£50million divorce settlement with his ex-wife Madonna ten years ago

One of the lakes at the estate will be close to the main shoot centre while the other is just below Ashcombe House itself

A plan for one of the lakes is pictured. They are said to be required to improve shooting and fishing facilities at the estate

‘As these could be significant landscape features and ones that appear contrary to the landscape character assessment adopted by the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty management plan that has been adopted by your council, it seems that these features could be alien to the landscape in which they are being proposed.’ 

Protesters said the areas impacted by the development seemed to be much bigger than the actual areas of the lakes

The group said ‘without information on the construction method to hold water in place these proposed operations could involve significant earth moving and topographical changes that then fail to achieve the objective’.

CCAONB added that ‘considerable more information is required to enable you to make a full assessment of the potential landscape impacts of the proposals’.

But Wiltshire Council said the proposal should be judged in the light of local planning policies ‘in the round’ which back diversification of rural businesses where there are no undue harmful effects.

Granting the application, the council said it was an ‘appropriate form of diversification of the rural economy specifically with respect to the ongoing operation, improvement and management of the Ashcombe Estate’.

Earlier this year the council approved plans for a gin still which came just weeks after the Gritchie Brewing Company unveiled its 4 per cent pale ale English Lore, now being sold in pubs across the area. 

The microbrewery was built from a dilapidated barn in just over 12 months, employs 12 people, and brews ‘beer in the traditional form’.  

Last October, David Beckham joined Ritchie on the estate for a day shooting partridges. The brewery is completely self-sufficient, as it also grows its own barley and uses water collected on the farm. Ritchie applied for planning permission to convert the derelict farm buildings in 2010, but did not start work until late 2016.

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