Ramblers open Hoogstraten path

tliouk <office@tlio.demon.co.uk> office at tlio.demon.co.uk
Mon Feb 10 17:34:30 GMT 2003

Monday, 10 February, 2003, 13:27 GMT 
Ramblers open Hoogstraten path
BBC News
Ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2743999.stm

A footpath blocked by jailed property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten 
for 13 years has been opened after a campaign by ramblers. 
Van Hoogstraten denied access to the path across his estate at 
Framfield in East Sussex, despite court orders to open it and appeals 
from the Ramblers Association. 
A group of campaigners, on Monday, pulled down fences and gates he 
installed across the path to open it for public access. 
Van Hoogstraten, 57, is serving a 10-year jail sentence for the 
manslaughter of Surrey businessman Mohammed Raja. 

The tycoon blocked the path, known as Framfield 9, with a barbed wire 
fence, padlocked gates, fridges and a barn he built across it. 
It crosses the grounds of his partly-built neo-classical mansion at 
Framfield, near Uckfield, which is estimated to have cost him £40m to 
build so far. 
When the footpath was closed, East Sussex County Council ordered Van 
Hoogstraten to clear it within 90 days. 
But he applied to have the path diverted and the council agreed. 
The diversion stood until November 2002, when the Ramblers 
Association succeeded in a court battle to have the diversion quashed 
and the 140-year-old right of way re-opened. 
Obstacles cleared 
The multi-millionaire, who has described ramblers as "the great 
unwashed" and "riff-raff", had been jailed a month earlier. 
He was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter for his part 
in the killing by two hitmen of Mr Raja. A demolition machine was 
used to clear obstacles from the path, while the ramblers helped 
remove the fence and unlock the gates to allow the path to be walked 
on for the first time since 1990. 
Kate Ashbrook, who led the Ramblers Association campaign, made the 
first cut through the barbed wire. 
She said: "The path is now open thanks to the thousands of walkers 
who stood up for the public's rights." 
The association's chief executive Nick Barrett said: "I regard this 
case as highly symbolic. This is not just about a piece of muddy 
"What we have here is a grotesque caricature of a situation that 
exists in a milder form throughout the country."

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