Angry neighbours tell Swift: You don't own the beach

Angry neighbours tell Swift: You don't own the beach

Taylor Swift has sparked local controversy near her Rhode Island home by building a sea wall below her summer residence in New England, upsetting other residents in the area.

Angry neighbours tell Swift: You don't own the beach

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The 24-year-old singer has also been accused of starting construction without getting proper permission.

Writing in Connecticut's The Day newspaper, journalist David Collins wrote: "I came upon the fleet of big earth movers working on the cliff below Swift's mansion, busily, well, rearranging the rocky coastline.

"One giant machine, part crane, was lifting big appliance-size boulders up out of the ocean with its mechanical claw and moving them ... Imagine my surprise when I soon discovered that Swift has not obtained one single permit from the town for the cliff work, which could well be among the largest construction projects in Westerly right now."

However, as the story developed, Collins wrote a follow-up piece clarifying that the area in question may well be part of Swift's private property, as it is above the mean high water mark, "the effective property line for oceanfront land."

It may be the case, Collins claimed, that the limits of her property extend a further 40 feet from the concrete wall.

Officials also said that the applicable permits had been granted by the Coastal Resources Management Council, but no building permit had been provided by the town itself - with officials stating that none was required.

The Day, which first reported the controversy, published an apology to Swift on New Year's Day for sparking the international coverage of what it considers a local issue.

"If there is something wrong here, it is that the town of Westerly has not required a permit for an estimated $2 million of work, including building big new walls," the paper wrote.

"The tabloid press also doesn't care that Westerly isn't collecting the fees and taxes it should, and how that happened."

There were, however, local residents unhappy with the work. A local source was widely reported as saying: "She's tearing up the beach and everyone is p****d off about it."

Another local added: "This is just the latest of all the things she's done to try to take over our beach since she moved in. She needs to realise that just because she bought a house overlooking the beach she doesn't own it."

Since purchasing her property earlier this year, Taylor's entourage have been accused of harassing young people helping to clean up the beach near her home as well as a local T-shirt vendor who made a jokey design to welcome her to the area.

Updated 1/1/14 with additional information and response.

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