SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: The axe factor for Robbie Williams

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: The axe factor for Robbie Williams as council cuts down the trees on the singer’s 17th century country estate

Robbie Williams (pictured above) has had his tranquility shattered after the council revealed plans to chop down trees on his land

Given Robbie Williams’s ill-tempered battle with his London neighbour, rock-god Jimmy Page, he must be tempted to seek out the idyllic setting of his country estate, 17th-century Compton Bassett, in Wiltshire.

But its tranquility has just been shattered, I can disclose, by the howl and growl of chainsaws sent into emergency action this week on the orders of Wiltshire Council.

Alerted by a keen-eyed tree surgeon who spotted five rotten trees — ash, beech and holly — close to a public bridleway on X Factor judge Williams’s land, and aware of threatened winds of up to 50mph, the council sanctioned the trees’ immediate removal.

‘The five were classified as dead and dangerous. Permission to fell was granted within 24 hours,’ says a council spokesman.

Williams’s spokeswoman declines to comment. But the super-crooner is now required to find replacement trees ‘of a suitable species and of similar stature’, and plant them ‘within the first available planting season’.

It is a further lesson in the challenges of country life for Williams, who was brought up in Stoke-on-Trent where his father ran Port Vale FC’s social club.

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Compton Bassett Manor (pictured above) which Robbie shares with his wife Ayda Field 

He bought Compton Bassett House for £8.1 million a decade ago, no doubt reassured by the fact that fellow rockers such as Peter Gabriel and Midge Ure have country residences nearby, as do Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and John Taylor of Duran Duran.

But within five years Williams, who has three children by American wife Ayda Field, was contending with the noxious stench from a landfill site half a mile away.

After that was neutralised, he sought permission to shield his house behind a 6ft 6in fence, only for locals to decry it as an eyesore.

Perhaps it’s all enough to propel him back to his £17 million, 46-room, Holland Park mansion — and his neighbour, Page, to whom Robbie was obliged to apologise after suggesting that the former Led Zeppelin star was ‘mentally ill’. 

Kick your kids out at 24, says Kathy Lette 

Saucy novelist Kathy Lette claims parents should force their children to leave home at the age of 24.

‘It’s no wonder kids never leave home these days. Their parents are cowed, their washing and ironing done, the fridge full and utility bills all magically paid,’ declares the 60-year-old, who has two children — Holby City star Julius, 28, and Labour activist Georgina, 26 — with her husband Geoffrey Robertson QC, from whom she is separated.

‘But enough is enough. Perhaps it’s time we adopted our parents’ golden rule — Out The Door By 24.’

Kate’s shows a lot of front 

Kate Beckinsale (pictured above) posted the snap to Instagram 

Dating a man 20 years her junior has certainly brought out Kate Beckinsale’s more playful side.

Pearl Harbor actress Kate, 45, who is going out with toyboy actor Pete Davidson, shared a picture of herself posing in a bathroom while wearing a semi-sheer plunging black leotard and black tights.

‘Brief stint as bathroom attendant during which I handed out small towels and very brief inspirational dancercise tutorials,’ she jokily captioned the photo.

Kate recently confirmed her romance with Davidson when they were snapped kissing at an ice hockey game. Despite the age gap, her new man says ‘it doesn’t really bother them’. 

Despite being worth £135 million, Queen guitarist Brian May appealed for help to find his wife Anita Dobson’s lost diamante earring. 

He never did recover the trinket but he has now dug deep to buy a replacement pair from Wisconsin for £18. ‘They are almost identical to the originals,’ says May. Flash.

 Olivier award-winning playwright Sir David Hare admits he can’t stand costume drama on television, despite the success of shows such as Netflix’s The Crown and ITV’s Victoria.

‘Period drama just isn’t my thing,’ he tells me.

‘I like contemporary stories and things that are about today. And I must say, I’m not great with bodices. Not for me.’

Sir David Hare (pictured above) admits he can’t stand costume drama on television

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