Lakshmi Mittal, the Saudi Royal family, and the esteemed relatives of the Sultan of Brunei have some new neighbours: a group of squatters have moved into a property on The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead, London's most expensive street, and the site of pieds-à-terre for royalty and the ultra-rich. The property sits on land that one estate agent valued at £30 million, but is in a state of disrepair, and the squatters claim that the owners are not only fully aware of the situation, but are in fact quite happy for them to look after the place and carry out some repairs. London currently has some 80,000 empty properties, more than 3,500 of which are in the borough of Brent, where The Bishops Avenue, superfluous definite article and all, sits. The moneyed residents of the Avenue best hope that these new kids on the block are well behaved: as Mr. Mittal found out last year, selling a £40 million property in these economic times isn't the easiest proposition.
Last Updated 15 July 2009