May 21 2013 Latest news:
Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Friday, July 20, 2012
The dilapidated wreck of a building left by the notorious Mole Man has been flogged at auction for a whopping £1.12 million.
The roofless shell in Mortimer Road reached £370,000 over the guide price of £750,000 when it went on sale yesterday.
In 2006 it was discovered William Lyttle, the former owner of the now structurally unsound property, had dug extensive tunnels of up to 60ft long underneath it after an eight foot hole appeared in the pavement outside.
Mr Lyttle started digging a wine cellar 40 years ago and ended up tunnelling down to the water table, causing a series of problems in the street and for the neighbours.
It is estimated he scooped out 100 cubic metres of earth from beneath his house and the roads next to the triangular plot.
The former civil engineer was evicted over safety concerns, and re-housed in a flat.
Engineers then removed 33 tons of debris including three cars and a boat from under the building, before they filled in the tunnels with concrete.
Andrew Fraser from probate researchers, Fraser and Fraser - which featured on the BBC show Heir Hunters - tracked down Lyttle’s heirs when he died in 2010, and needed to raise enough money to pay back the council over £408,000 for repairs.
He obtained planning permission to pull down the structure which lies within the De Beauvoir conservation area, and to rebuild a pair of three storey town houses before the house went to auction.
A buyer who bidded on behalf of a client who wished to remain anonymous said the new owner planned to call the property “The Molehole.”
No buyers came forward last year when the derelict house went on sale for £500,000 with no planning permission.