Kate Winslet in Titanic battle over plan to build 600ft seawall to protect her home

The actress has locked horns with Natural England – the government body that looks after the environment

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Kate Winslet may be best known for her onscreen battle with the Atlantic ocean in Titanic, but her battle with the sea nearer to her Sussex home is winning her nothing but trouble.

The actress has locked horns with Natural England – the government body that looks after the environment – over her plans to build a 600ft sea wall to stop her 17th-century home from falling into the Solent.

Winslet, 39, lives in West Wittering, renowned for its sandy beaches, and is in the process of fighting for planning consent to build the barrier, which would shield her Grade II-listed house from storms and high tides.

Public environmental body Natural England has urged Chichester District Council to reject her planning application on the grounds that it could have damaging effects on the ecosystem, which is home to rare and vulnerable birds, trees and wetlands.

Opponents have also expressed concerns that the wall could affect a public footpath which runs along the edge of the estate.


Winslet shares her home with husband Ned Rocknroll, nephew of Richard Branson, as well as her three children.

Since 2013, when Winslet bought the property for £3.25m, the 17th-century house has undergone extensive renovations with applications submitted for an underground swimming pool, pool house and garage.

The actress experienced similar friction from the neighbours of her previous home in Treyford, Chichester, where she was forced to withdraw an application to build a set of wooden gates outside the property. Those gates were proposed to increase privacy for the actress and her family, whereas  Winslet’s most recent planning application for the construction of a boulder and gravel seawall was designed to protect the property from flooding and erosion.

A spokesperson for Natural England said: “Our objection centres on the fact that the application site falls within land which is protected as a special area of conservation, special protection area, Ramsar wetlands and site of special scientific interest.”

“The proposal would result in direct loss of protected habitat and would be likely to have a significant, adverse effect on these designated sites.”

Winslet’s planning document states: “The proposed privately funded sea defences will ensure that the existing vegetation and public footpath will be protected into the future.”