She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of countryside causes.
But now Twiggy has been dragged into a local row over the sale of her house in a historic village.
Her former neighbours in Barnham, West Sussex, claim the sale has led to the spoiling of their rural idyll and will affect local wildlife.
The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her house in 2020. A sequence of events followed the sale, with a new 200-house development on ‘pristine farmland’ now given the go-ahead.
It meant the bottom half of the house’s large garden is to be turned into an access road for the new estate. But the 72-year-old, also known as Dame Lesley Lawson, has moved away from the neighbourhood.
She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of countryside causes. But now Twiggy has been dragged into a local row over the sale of her house in a historic village
The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her house in 2020. A sequence of events followed the sale, with a new 200-house development on ‘pristine farmland’ now given the go-ahead
Former neighbour Graham Fields, 65, an electronic engineer, said Twiggy and husband Allan Leigh Lawson decided to sell after another neighbour, air traffic controller Paul Voller, made plans with developers to build houses on fields behind the home.
But the fields are cut off from existing roads, so the model’s 1.2 acres became crucial for access.
Mr Fields said: ‘After we heard Twiggy and her husband were selling their house, the next thing we heard was that they had sold their land to Mr Voller.’
The firm working with Mr Voller applied to build the houses with access via what was the paddock at the bottom of Twiggy’s garden. Arundel district council rejected the plans as inappropriate.
But a planning inspector last week ruled in an appeal that the £100million scheme can go ahead, spoiling views of the South Downs. After buying the property Mr Voller kept the parcel of land at the back while the house and smaller garden were bought by someone else for £705,000 in 2020.
It is understood that at one stage Twiggy and Mr Lawson were seeking in excess of £1million for the whole plot. They now live in a nearby village.
Mr Lawson, 78, an actor and director, last night told the Daily Mail they did not have to justify selling up, saying: ‘What somebody does with the property afterwards is nothing to do with me.’
Sold: The five-bedroom house in Barnham, West Sussex
Row: Land at the back of the garden that will be developed
He added: ‘We sold the house because we started getting 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, said to be worth up to £50million, bought the five-bed house in Barnham, near Arundel, for £790,000 in 2017.
They used it as their second home while based at a £3million west London flat.
But some residents are concerned about the sale’s effect on wildlife. Mr Fields said: ‘There’s going to be a thousand car journeys a day through her former garden. I release rescue hedgehogs into my garden every year, after a charity assessed the area as suitable… there will be less area for them to forage.’
Clinical services manager Sydnee Kalinski, 44, said: ‘This means the concreting over of one of our village’s best spaces for nature conservation.’
Barnham, with a population of around 1,400, is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a church dating back to before then.
Source: Daily Mail