OLIGARCH BUYING £65 MILLION LONDON WRECK IN UK'S BIGGEST SALE OF YEAR

OLIGARCH BUYING £65 MILLION LONDON WRECK IN UK’S BIGGEST SALE OF YEAR

An oligarch is poised to buy the UK’s most expensive home this year by spending £65 million on a DERELICT mansion.

For the past six years a Kuwaiti family battled with locals and authorities to try and demolish Athlone House and replace it with a huge new home.

Around 5,000 people – including Monty Python star Terry Gilliam – objected to the proposals and the owners eventually withdrew them.

They have now decided to sell to billionaire Mikhail Fridman, who made his fortune in the oil and telecoms industries.

The Ukrainian will go ahead with the £65 million deal if he can obtain planning permission to restore the property, which overlooks Hampstead Heath in London.

At £65 million, the deal will top the £53.5 million sale of Sir Richard Branson’s former home in Holland Park to be the biggest sale of 2016.

It will also result in a stamp duty bill of between £7.5 and £10 million – one of the single biggest property tax payments in history.

A spokesperson for Mr Fridman, chairman of investment firm Letterone, said: “Mikhail has agreed to purchase Athlone House subject to a satisfactory planning consent.

“Mikhail is very keen to restore Athlone House to its former glory.

“He will work hand in hand through his architect and other professional advisers with London Borough of Camden and the local working group to achieve this common goal.

“Mikhail is an international businessman with business interests all over the world, and as such he now spends about half of his time in the UK.”

Athlone House was built in 1870 for Victorian industrial chemist, Edward Brooke.

For many years it was one of North London’s grandest family homes, with stunning views across Hampstead Heath.

During the First World War it was used to treat soldiers suffering from shellshock and later became a base for training RAF servicemen.

But in the 1950s it was converted into a hospital and, according to previous planning documents, lost “most” of its original and distinctive features.

The dilapidated mansion was bought by a wealthy Kuwaiti family in 2005 and they set about demolishing the property and replacing it with a 21st century palace.

However, locals Camden were furious over the plans and thousands wrote to Camden Council to object to the proposals.

Monty Python star Terry Gilliam said the developers were “giving two fingers in stone to the Heath, the people in the Heath and the council”.

Plans to demolish Athlone House were withdrawn last year.

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