Twiggy is dragged into a local row after selling land in historic West Sussex village

Twiggy, 72, is being dragged into a local row after land sales in the historic West Sussex village pave the way for a 200-home development ‘which will spoil the rural idyll and affect wildlife’

  • Twiggy has been dragged into the row over the sale of her house in a historic village
  • His former neighbors in Barnham claim the sale has ruined the romance
  • Model, patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020
  • A new 200-home development on ‘virgin farmland’ has been given the green light










She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of rural causes.

But now Twiggy has been embroiled in a local feud over the sale of her home in a historic village.

His former neighbors in Barnham, West Sussex, say the sale has ruined their rural idyll and will affect local wildlife.

The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020. A sequence of events followed the sale, with a new 200-home development on ‘virgin farmland’ now given the green light .

This meant that the lower half of the house’s large garden had to be turned into an access route to the new estate. But the 72-year-old, also known as Dame Lesley Lawson, has moved away from the neighborhood.

She was the face of the 1960s and has long been a champion of rural causes. But now Twiggy has been embroiled in 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 home in 2020. A sequence of events followed the sale, with a new 200-home development on 'virgin farmland' now given the green light

The model, who is a patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, sold her home in 2020. A sequence of events followed the sale, with a new 200-home development on ‘virgin farmland’ now given the green light

Former neighbor Graham Fields, 65, an electronics engineer, said Twiggy and her husband Allan Leigh Lawson decided to sell after another neighbor, air traffic controller Paul Voller, made plans with developers to build houses on fields behind the house.

But the fields are cut off from existing roads, so the model’s 1.2 acres have become crucial for access.

Mr Fields said: ‘After hearing that Twiggy and her husband were selling their house, the next thing we heard was that they had sold their land to Mr Voller.’

The company working with Mr. Voller asked to build the houses with access through what was the paddock at the bottom of Twiggy’s garden. Arundel District Council dismissed the plans as inappropriate.

But a planning inspector last week ruled in an appeal that the £100m scheme could go ahead, spoiling the view of the South Downs. After buying the property, Mr Voller kept the plot of land to the rear while the house and small garden were bought by someone else for £705,000 in 2020.

It is understood that at one point Twiggy and Mr Lawson were looking for over £1million for the whole plot. They now live in a nearby village.

Mr Lawson, 78, an actor and director, told the Daily Mail last night they did not have to justify the sale, saying: ‘What anyone does next with the property has nothing to do with me.”

Sold: The five-bedroom house in Barnham, West Sussex

Sold: The five-bedroom house in Barnham, West Sussex

Row: Land at the back of the garden which will be landscaped

Row: Land at the back of the garden which will be landscaped

He added: ‘We sold the house because we started having grandchildren and needed a bigger one. I didn’t expect to have to qualify why. We sold the house and the garden as a whole.

The couple, who could be worth up to £50million, bought the five-bed house in Barnham, near Arundel, for £790,000 in 2017.

They used it as a second home while based in a £3million flat in west London.

But some residents are concerned about the effect of the sale on wildlife. Mr Fields said: “There will be a thousand car journeys a day through his old garden. I release rescue hedgehogs to my garden every year, after a charity assesses the area as suitable…there will be less space for them to feed.

Clinical Services Manager Sydnee Kalinski, 44, said: ‘It means concreting in 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 that predates it.