Sir Fred infuriates new neighbours


By Kirsty Topping

 SIR Fred Goodwin is under fire from neighbours after workmen dug a trench to connect his new mansion to the internet.

The disgraced former RBS boss spent an estimated £25,000 getting the latest fibre optic cables laid to his posh new pad in Edinburgh.

But neighbours are angry that part of the 120-metre-long trench sliced through common land they own and maintain.

They claim the work was steamrollered through without getting proper permission from all 21 owners of the land in leafy Colinton.

Sir Fred is already locked in a long-running dispute with neighbours over the height of the hedge bordering his £3.5m home.

So residents were livid when the peace and quiet of Laverockdale Park was suddenly shattered by workmen.

They dug a trench from the entrance to the street and across a neatly-tended area of grass and trees before entering the high-walled grounds of Sir Fred’s six-bedroom mansion.

One seething home owner, who asked not to identified, said: “I don’t think Sir Fred has moved in yet but he can’t be far off because they’ve just put in a broadband cable.”

The resident said he marched up to the workmen and demanded to know what they were doing. I said: “How did you get permission?’, and they said: ‘We have way leave’.”

The resident claimed the company that built the estate, Walker Group, had given permission for the trench to Sir Fred’s home – without asking anyone else.

He said: “I’m supposed to own a 21st of all the amenity land in the estate, that’s in my title deeds.

“We tend to the grass and the trees and then Walkers gave them way leave to go across land which we should own without so much as a by your leave.

“Sir Fred is alienating his neighbours.”

Installing the high-speed cable is likely to have set back Sir Fred up to £200 a metre. But with a £340,000-a-year pension, he can easily afford it.

Residents are already fuming over the 25ft hedge that screens Sir Fred’s home from Laverockdale Park, where properties cost around £400,000.

They claim the massive wall of vegetation cuts out light and even stops plants growing in their gardens.

A neighbour warned that legal action could be looming.

“There are plans to introduce high hedges legislation to sort people like Fred out, high trees, nuisance vegetation, that sort of thing,” he said.

“If those trees were cut down to ten feet, you’d maybe see his house, but you wouldn’t see Fred.”

It was revealed recently that Sir Fred had taken out a super injunction which prevented the media referring to him as a banker.

John Hemming, the MP who used parliamentary privilege to reveal the ban, said he was worried that people with money seemed to be treated better than those without.

He said: “I worry about how our country treats wealthy people, like Fred, better than other people with less resources. I think it’s wrong.”

Virgin Media confirmed they had installed the cable and been given permission by Walkers.

They refused to confirm who the cable had been laid for.

No-one was available for comment from Walker Group, based in Livingston, West Lothian.