TV chef Gino D’Acampo is trying to close off a footpath next to his £1.25million home over claims he is being ‘harassed’ by fans and fears for his family’s safety.
The millionaire chef says he and his family are fed up with people knocking on the door of his home in Hertfordshire, begging for pictures and autographs.
But the pathway next to the Grade II-listed home provides ‘vital’ access to a GP surgery and patients would be forced to travel four times as far if it were to close.
Gino D’Acampo, pictured with his wife Jessie, and children Rocco and Luccian, in July 2010
TV chef Gino D’Acampo, 41, says he and his family are fed up with people knocking on the door of his home in Hertfordshire (pictured), begging for pictures and autographs
The Italian-born 41-year-old chef, who is known his food-focused programmes on ITV, insists the closure of the walkway in is for the safety of his family.
D’Acampo and his wife Jessie, 44, said they have found people in their garden taking pictures and once even found a stranger standing in their hallway.
In a letter to Broxbourne Borough Council, Mrs D’Acampo wrote: ‘I just want my family which includes young children to feel safe and secure and have some privacy.
‘A couple of times I have had people in my garden taking pictures and there are frequent knocks on the door with people asking for pictures of Gino or signed books.
‘I often get abused in the driveway and it is obviously dangerous for members of the public to treat the driveway effectively as a public space without concern about my family or our visitors’ car driving up and down the driveway.’
D’Acampo and his wife, who wed in 2002 and have three children, bought the four-storey Georgian townhouse, which has seven bedrooms, in 2016.
D’Acampo bought the four-storey Georgian townhouse, which has seven bedrooms, in 2016
The pathway runs down the side where a door can be accessed. There is a ramp at the end of the driveway which slopes down to a GP surgery for wheelchair access.
But if the driveway were to close, wheelchair users would have to travel four times as far to reach the practice.
The D’Acampos’ application has so far had 15 responses – with 14 people rejecting the proposal to close the walkway.
One of the most notable objections comes from practice manager of the surgery, Christine Price.
She said: ‘Many of our patients are elderly and the longer walk around to the surgery would have an affect both on them and the surgery with the possibility of patients registering with other GP practices with easier access.
‘This driveway was closed earlier in the year and this caused problems to staff and patients.’
D’Acampo and his wife Jessie, 44, said they have found people in their garden taking pictures
A Broxbourne Council spokesman said of his application to have the footpath closed: ‘The planning application has been received and is under consideration’
Niki Hillier, office manager of Pen Underwriting, said: ‘This is the only disabled access to the offices and surgery as the only other access to goes down a very narrow private road with a small path.
Accountancy firm Croucher Needham is about to commit to a lease of an office in Lime Court and considers the pathway an ‘extremely important access route’.
In a letter objecting to the plans, the firm states: ‘As accountants we will not only have staff present in the building, but visiting clients who will expect that public right of way to remain open.
‘I assume that you are also aware that a doctor’s surgery and pharmacist operate from the surgery, access via this passageway is vital to their function.’
It concludes: ‘Should the council agree to this amendment of this public right of way, then you will agree to closing off access from a dedicated 25,000 square foot purpose built office complex. There is no pavement access to the surgery.’
D’Acampo rose to fame as a chef on ITV’s This Morning after appearing on reality TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
He has also presented cookery programmes including Let’s Do Lunch, There’s No Taste Like Home and Gino’s Italian Escape.
D’Acampo (second right) appears on ITV’s comedy panel show Celebrity Juice with Holly Willoughby, Keith Lemon and Fearne Cotton
In their application, his wife says she has monitored the public’s use of the driveway for months and believes most office workers could ‘easily’ take another route and ‘there are a couple to choose’.
‘Some elderly are dropped off by the gates either by a relative or taxi for the surgery but they could be dropped off at the surgery,’ she said.
‘I really do not feel that the short additional walk for people who have a genuine need to access buildings to the rear of our house would cause any real difficulty or concern.
‘I truly believe that most people would understand our plight. No one wants strangers knocking on their door, shouting at them, entering their home or garden uninvited, it’s just not fair on us as a young family and is actually quite scary.’
She concludes her application by stating they ‘love being part of the community’ and has insisted local business and people have been ‘so welcoming’.
The couple have been approached for comment. A Broxbourne Council spokesman said: ‘The planning application has been received and is under consideration.
‘No conclusions have been reached about whether the proposal is acceptable or not, and it is not yet possible to say when the application will be determined.’