Kate Bush and the war of Wuthering Heights05.05.07
She is renowned for her almost obsessive desire for privacy. But the latest attempts by Kate Bush to deter curious fans from peering at her seaside retreat have landed her in hot water.
High-security fencing, electronic entry systems, warning signs and blinding spotlights around the mansion on a remote Devon clifftop have all been described as intrusive and unnecessary by local residents.
But now the local council has received formal complaints about the singer's installation of CCTV cameras that spy on people using a secluded beach below her £2.5million property in the picturesque South Hams peninsula.
Chairman David Hampden-Smith confirmed that the matter was already on the agenda for discussion at the parish council's next meeting on Tuesday.
Local people are also concerned that Ms Bush plans to divert two public footpaths that provide views of her 17-acre property.
They insist that the singer must have known when she bought it in 2004 that the coastal footpath ran alongside the house and that there was another public right of way across her land to one of the most beautiful beaches in the region.
The beach is guarded by two tiny islands that are part of the estate.
It has a boathouse with a large sign telling members of the public it is private and they should respect its beauty and tranquillity.
On top of the boathouse are the security cameras, which constantly scour the foreshore for intruders.
The Devon hideaway, which The Mail on Sunday has decided not to name, is believed to have provided the inspiration for much of Kate's most recent album Aerial - released in November 2005 - which has endless coastal references to sunsets, sunrises, boats and birds.
Scroll down for more
But many local people and regular visitors believe her modern security apparatus detracts from the stunning natural land and seascapes.
One neighbour said: "I just don't think there's any need for it out here. It makes us feel like we're all some sort of threat ."
Parish clerk Roger Tucker refused to comment but another council source revealed that Kate had received unwanted visitors.
The source said: "She's had people going right into the grounds to try to see her and at one stage there was a helicopter circling overhead for quite a while."
However, another local said: "She's gone over the top with all the security. Apparently the cameras are all connected up to her main home so she can still watch what's happening down here."
Land surrounding the property has been cleared and there are persistent rumours about Kate's desire to have the coast path moved, although there has been no official application.
The neighbour explained: "The path to the beach used to run down the side of her house but there was a landslip and it was diverted via the next headland.
"She's since had the original path re-cut for her own use and we've heard she might be trying to get it closed to the public now because four solid fence posts have been driven into the side of the hill across the bottom of the path as it reaches the beach.
"But she can't do that. It's a right of way and she knew that when she bought the place."
One councillor said: "I'm afraid the coast path and the beach were there long before Kate Bush and I'm fairly confident they'll still be in the same place with the same unhindered access long after she's gone."
Other celebrities with homes in the area include former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward, ex-BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond and fellow pop singer Damon Albarn, Blur frontman.
Kate, 48, is married to guitarist Danny McIntosh and the couple have an eight-year-old son, Bertie.
Their other home is a mansion on an island in the middle of the River Thames near Reading, Berkshire. It, too, is screened by iron gates, high walls and cameras.
Kate burst on to the music scene as a 19-year-old in 1978 with a unique presentational style and wailing voice on Wuthering Heights which spent four weeks at No1.
But the ensuing fame took its toll and she has increasingly withdrawn from the spotlight.
A spokesman for Kate Bush refused to comment about the cameras.
Share this articleWhat is this?
Here's a sample of the latest views published. You can click view all to read all views that readers have sent in.
I agree with you there Dave. I think Kate has the right to protect her family, especially now she has a little boy.
- Michelle, Scotland
Good for her! Tony Martin's experience shows the police are unwilling or unable to protect remote homes.
- Dave, Cornwall