Millionaire hires MORI to find out just what his neighbours think of him

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The Independent Online
Ever wondered what your neighbours think of you? Urs Schwazenbach was so curious that he commissioned a MORI poll to find out just what his neighbours thought of his jet-setting lifestyle.

Multi-millionaire Mr Schwazenbach lives in a lavish mansion house in Lower Shiplake near Henley-on-Thames. For the past seven years the Swiss financier has courted controversy with his neighbours by landing helicopters at his Harpsden estate.

According to Mrs Joan Ritchie, a neighbour, interviewers from MORI had been there all week. "I was a bit thrown by it, she said, "but they have obviously been to everyone in our road."

Residents were quizzed on their views about aircraft noise, pollution and their perceptions of Mr Schwazenbach. They were not told who had commissioned the survey and some felt that they had been tricked.

Mrs Susan Crawford, of Harpsden Woods, Henley-on-Thames, said: "I feel as if I have been absolutely duped. A woman came to the door and told me she was just doing a questionnaire on air pollution."

Hamish Hale, who has already had to move house once because of the helicopter said yesterday that he understood the financier had ordered the survey to try to establish how many people objected to the huge Sigorsky.

Dr Hale admitted however, that he was slightly biased against the millionaire after he sold his own house seven years ago, due to the noise of the helicopter, only to find that the new landing site is now at the bottom of the garden of his new house. Along with former Tomorrow's World presenter Raymond Baxter, Dr Hale is one of the leading lights in the villagers anti-chopper campaign.

"The helicopter's downblast used to cover our house and the cars with dust and leaves," he said. "I once had a do in the garden, the helicopter came over and we were all covered in dust and debris."

"We think that he uses it to ferry his polo team around," said Mr Baxter, "Under planning law he's not allowed to do that."

Mr Schwazenbach was unavailable for comment yesterday but issued a statement through his agent, Ayre Maunsell, who said his client was keen to determine the "degree of concern among the whole neighbourhood".