Pictured: Jemima Khan has been arguing over access to a cemetery on her £15million Oxfordshire estate
Multimillionaire Jemima Khan has been embroiled in a row over car access to a graveyard on her £15million estate after locals claim they cannot visit the graves of loved ones.
A couple who make the 80-minute tour to the cemetery on special occasions say they are often locked out and once had to be let in by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Mrs Khan, a journalist and filmmaker now known by her maiden name Goldsmith, bought Kiddington Hall near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, in 2010.
She claims, through representatives, that steps have been taken to ensure access is available at any time of the day.
A spokesman added that the gates will now remain locked because Ms Khan has “an ongoing problem with two male stalkers”.
The monumental stately home has 466 hectares of landscaped parkland, including the Sint-Nicolaaskerk on the grounds.
There is a pedestrian right of access to the cemetery, but car and parking access is courteous.
Christopher and Wendy Earl, of Cowley, Oxon, make the 80-minute round trip to the church on special occasions to lay flowers on the graves of relatives.
They say that while the previous owner left the gate open for visitors to the cemetery, they are now routinely locked out.
Mr Earl said: ‘We came one day and we couldn’t get in. I have double arthritis and walk with two canes. Walking up is difficult, not just for me, but for any person with a disability.
‘The previous owner of the hall always left the gate open, it always has been. We never had a problem until it was bought by Jemima Khan.
‘We wrote to the Bishop of Oxford and he passed us on to the Bishop of Dorchester. Apparently they had a meeting with Jemima Khan and it was resolved.
“There was a buzzer system so we could ring the hall for entry and someone would open the gate.
Pictured: Kiddington Hall, a Grade II listed Oxfordshire stately home, has 466 acres of surrounding landscape parkland, including St Nicholas’ Church in the grounds
“But we went in August and there was no one in the hall and it was only because some people were driving that we could get in.
“Last week the buzzer didn’t work at all.”
Miss Goldsmith, the daughter of financier Sir James Goldsmith and former wife of ex-cricketer and now Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, has reportedly paid £15 million for the estate described as a ‘jewel in the heart of Oxfordshire’.
Mrs Earl added: ‘I spoke to a young gardener and asked him what the problem was with the buzzer system and he said there was no one in the hall to open the gate and all the staff had a day off. So we had to walk again.
“One time we were there they wouldn’t open the gate and luckily David Cameron showed up, his daughter went horseback riding and he had the code and let us in.”
The house has nine bedrooms, five bathrooms, five reception rooms, an orangery and tennis courts.
Dating back to 1673, Kiddington Hall is set in a park designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the 18th-century landscape architect.
There are three more houses and cottages, a farm, forest and lake on the estate, as well as the church and cemetery.
Revd Stephen Jones, the vicar of Wootton, Glympton and Kiddington, explained that while pedestrian access is a legal right of way, the driveway is not.
He said: ‘It’s a problem we’ve had, this has come up before. The difficulty is that we have to be able to push a button and someone has to answer.
“It’s not resolved because we don’t have the right to demand access. People who come to the gate should be able to get an answer by pressing the button on the machine.’
Mrs Earl said, ‘If there’s no one to answer the buzzer, they should leave the bottom gate open anyway.
“They said it was originally because they had a break-in, but anyone can go in anyway because there’s a pedestrian gate.”
A spokesman for Jemima Khan said the gardener who lives on the property has given the couple in question his personal cellphone in case they ever need access to vehicles in the future.
She added: “There has always been a prominent sign next to the gates indicating that you can ring the bell to gain access to vehicles at any time of the day, including weekends (it is currently being repaired after someone drove in!) are always open for church services.
“The gate was never left open by the previous owner, it didn’t exist. Jemima has restored the original gate for security reasons after an ongoing issue with two male stalkers with criminal records.
“She has never had any complaints and all her neighbors are very understanding of the situation.”