JK Rowling in row with neighbours over security

HARRY POTTER author JK Rowling has become embroiled in a row with her neighbours over plans to increase security at her house.

The acclaimed writer wants Edinburgh City Council to give her permission to increase the height of the walls surrounding her £500,000 property and also install an electronic security gate.

But nearby residents in the plush Merchiston district of the city have claimed the proposed changes would be out of character with the rest of the area, which is a designated conservation site.

A group have now written to the council demanding that it throw out the multi-millionaire author's planning application. One objector complained about "overshadowing" from the higher walls, while another said that a proposed wider driveway would be "out of character with the green aspect of the site".

Ms Rowling's new security measures come just a month after stalker Melissa Kumsuk Cho was deported back to America. The 31-year-old had appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court charged with breach of the peace, but was later found to be in this country illegally and sent back to the US.

Miss Cho had been accused of repeatedly attempting to contact the author by telephoning her, sending letters and arriving at her Edinburgh home or places where she might be.

She was also accused of pretending to a firm of solicitors that she was the beneficiary of a trust set up by Ms Rowling in a bid to find out more information about her.

Despite the objections by neighbours, Edinburgh City Council's head of planning Alan Henderson has recommended councillors approve Ms Rowling's application when they meet next Wednesday.

In a report to the planning committee, Mr Henderson said: "Overall the alterations, while numerous, do not harm the architectural integrity of the villa and they do preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area as a whole."

City councillors gave the author permission last month to build a glass-fronted office at her home despite more objections from neighbours.

Rowling, who married anaesthetist Neil Murray at her £1 million Perthshire house, Killiechassie, last December, is known to be an intensely private woman.

She spends some of her time at her Merchiston home with her husband and six-year-old daughter Jessica.

The publication of her eagerly anticipated fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was scheduled for this autumn, has been postponed, possibly until next year.

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