George Clooney and his wife Amal have clashed with the local council over plans to extend the CCTV system around their Berkshire property. The Grade-II listed mansion, which was purchased last October, has already received approval for a number of additions, but a proposed network of CCTV cameras installed on poles around the property have begun to cause problems for the noted actor.
The nine-bedroom, £10million property in question rests in the village of Sonning Eye, just outside of Reading, Berkshire. Clooney and his wife – a human rights lawyer – have already received permission to begin work on a new swimming pool, pool house, and home cinema, as well as new boundary fencing. They reportedly plan to move into the 17th-century Mill House later in the year once all work and renovations have been completed, but it is the addition of new security equipment which is causing difficulties for the newly married couple.
The proposed system would erect a total of eighteen cameras around their luxury home. This CCTV system would include eight cameras mounted on poles around the property’s grounds, and a further 10 attached to the Grade II listed building itself. To provide the couple peace of mind and heightened protection, each camera would be housed in a secure, damage-resistant dome which could be moved to face in any desired direction. To provide panoramic visibility, six poles would be 4 m high, one would reach 5 m, and one would be 6m.
However, these proposals have raised objections from Eye and Dunsden Parish Council. The council has objected to the couple’s plans, arguing that the wide range of the cameras would go beyond the needs of basic security to represent ‘potential infringement of the privacy of neighbouring properties’.
This would therefore amount to a’visual intrusion’ into the conservation areas of the village. Council officials responded to the plans by stating that: ‘A more appropriate security system could be achieved by a greater number of inward-facing low-level cameras.’ However, the South Oxfordshire District Council’s conservation officer has argued that the cameras should be approved as long as they can be quickly and easily removed from the building without causing any damage.
The Eye and Dunsden Parish Council approved the swimming pool and other projects over two months ago, and will soon reach a decision as to the proposed CCTV system.