March 9 2014 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Thursday, June 7, 2012
The home where Hackney’s infamous Mole Man constructed an elaborate labyrinth of tunnels is finally facing demolition, as it is being put up for auction next month.
Eccentric oddball Mr Lyttle gained worldwide notoriety after 40 years spent digging a 60-foot network of tunnels beneath the £1million mansion, which is now the subject of a dangerous structure notice.
Hackney Council evicted him in 2006, and found skip loads of junk, including the wrecks of four Renault 4 cars, a boat, scrap metal, old baths, fridges and dozens of TV sets stashed in the tunnels.
A year ago Hackney Council refused planning permission for two new four-storey townhouses on the site.
The council wanted to see the building which they regarded of “local townscape merit” restored to its former glory.
But Andrew Fraser, who claims to be acting on behalf of the heirs of Mr Lyttle – who died two years ago - says this was not financially feasible and appealed against their refusal.
The government’s planning inspectorate overturned the council’s decision to refuse planning permission in January.
But an administrative blunder meant the house could still not be bulldozed.
Mr Fraser – whose probate company Fraser and Fraser appeared on the BBC TV series Heirhunters – said his company had made a “fundamental error” in the appeal, which only related to the new proposed dwelling, and not the application for demolition of the existing building.
The building went on sale last year for around £500,000 but no deal resulted.
Now estate agents are hoping the house in Mortimer Road in the De Beauvoir conservation area will fetch around £750,000 when it goes under the hammer.
“Putting the property up for auction is the best option to achieve the maximum property price,” said Sean King of estate agent Move with Us.
“We expect lots of interest in the sale. The property is prime real estate in Hackney with the added cache of being the ‘Mole Man’s former house.”