Helen Mirren is under investigation for allegedly breaching building regulations with her new beach house in southern Italy.
The 73-year-old actress and her director husband Taylor Hackford, 72, purchased their cliff-top stone house in the village of Torre Nasparo last year (17), and have had builders in to restore the property so they can use the house, which is 10 miles from their existing farmhouse in the Puglia region, as a private beachside retreat.
However, according to reporters at Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, police officers have halted the building work after people complained that restorers have violated planning permissions by increasing the height of some stone walls and replacing stone ones with concrete barriers.
The couple, who have previously been lauded by locals for campaigning to preserve Puglia’s famous olive trees, have been accused of “disfiguring the natural beauty” of the area with their building work.
Addressing the planning issue, their lawyer Pietro Nuccio told the publication: “This has struck Dame Helen like a bolt from the blue, she never expected this. She fell in love with this location because it was in ruins and she wanted to save it. If cement has been used it will be taken off. If the laws have not been respected, we will find a solution.”
Mirren and Hackford are reportedly planning to spend $343,000 restoring the property.
Explaining the planning problems further, Nuccio added: “The problem is that the walls should be no more than 200 centimetres (6.5 feet) and two of those are 370 centimetres (12 feet). If there is a small violation it can be solved. There is no damage to the natural beauty.”
The duo, who have been married since 1997, previously faced off with local planning officials back in 2012 due to a complaint from a neighbour over plans for a shared wall.