Not in my back yard, says Madonna. Lawyers for the Material Girl argued Wednesday that walkers should not be allowed to traipse across her $11 million country estate of Ashcombe House in Wiltshire, southern England.
Madonna and her husband, film director Guy Ritchie, are disputing their obligations under a new law designed to give ramblers access to open land across Britain.
The couple — listed as Mr. and Mrs. G. Ritchie in legal papers relating to the case — believe that allowing public access to their land would breach their human rights by infringing on their privacy.
Madonna and Ritchie didn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing.
Lawyer David Elvin told an inquiry held by the Planning Inspectorate that the couple are contesting 17 parcels of land identified by the Countryside Agency as open countryside.
The government-funded agency has decided that 100 acres of the couple’s 1,200-acre retreat should be designated a public walkway.
Elvin said the agency had agreed that five of the contested areas had been wrongly classified, but the remaining 12 pieces of land were still in dispute.
Stephen Pasterfield, representing the Countryside Agency, said there should be no special consideration for famous people.
“There is no restriction or exception specifically to prevent public access onto access land owned by those who, perhaps through their special talent, become famous,” he said.
The inquiry is expected to last five days.