Hollywood A lister Robert De Niro is embroiled in a row with locals on Barbuda island over a new tourist development at a club once a favourite of Princess Diana.
It was one of Princess Diana’s favourite places to unwind. But, the once plush K Club resort in Barbuda has been empty and derelict for more than a decade, despite sitting on one of the most incredible stretches of white sand anywhere in the world.
However, two years ago, the Taxi Driver and Goodfellas actor revealed plans, along with the Australian billionaire James Pakcer, to bring the resort back to life with a £204 million investment. Last year, locals voted to support the plans.
However, there is now growing dissent about the plans and, because the island is owned by the people they have the right to give or refuse permission for new developments. Mackenzie Frank, who is heading up a group of protestors, said he was concerned that people had not been given full details of the plans. Without further information, he said it would be impossible for anyone to make an informed decision.
His appeal against the developed was, however, denied by the High Court and a new bill was passed called Paradise Found. Residents now say they fear the legislation could affect their rights when it comes to having a say in other future development.
Three hundred of the 1,500 residents of Barbuda have now signed a petition which is protesting against Mr De Niro’s development. While Mr Frank said that no one was against the K Club opening up again, he said developers were wanting too much extra land. It is understood that Mr De Niro and his business partner want an extra 300 acres around the site of the K Club site so they can develop the new Paradise Found resort over the next decade. The new resort would have 50 villages and cottages, each with their own private swimming pool.