'Ghost of Sussex' mansion sits unfinished after 40 years and dwarfs Buckingham Palace

Hamilton Palace in Kent is one of the biggest mansions in the country, dwarfing even Buckingham Palace – and yet, no one lives there. The palace remains unfinished even though construction on it started 40 years ago, with the aim of housing the art collection of controversial property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten.

Work started on the huge mansion in 1985, although there hasn’t appeared to be any progress since a member of the public last ventured inside in 2000. The areas surrounding the mansion are littered with hostile signs warning the public to stay away, according to Sussex Live.

The owner provoked outrage in 1990 after they blocked public paths around the estate with razor wire and mounds of discarded refrigerators.

One local resident told The Mirror: “As far as I know nothing has changed. It’s difficult to see what work has or hasn’t been done as there are a number of threatening ‘keep out’ and ‘private’ signs dotted around the property.”

The house was reportedly built to hold the art collection of property tycoon Mr van Hoogstraten, one of the wealthiest people in the area.

Costing £40million, the mansion even has its own mausoleum on the edge of a small lake.

Nearby residents called in 2016 for parts of the palace to be used to house the homeless given the amount of unused space, but Mr van Hoogstraten responded: “The ‘homeless’ – the majority of whom are so by their own volition or sheer laziness – are one of the filthiest burdens on the public purse today. The chance of my offering an opportunity for them to occupy Hamilton Palace is just ludicrous.”

It was reported by The Times that Mr van Hoogstraten also said that “even the most moronic of peasants would be able to see from the pictures that we have been busy landscaping the grounds of the palace so as to prepare for scheduled works”.

The tycoon has been quoted as saying that the walls of scaffolding are currently in place to “as a part of ongoing routine maintenance”.

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While the conviction was later overturned and the tycoon was released, he was still ordered to pay the victim’s family £1.5million. Mr Raja’s wife would later claim the family had yet to receive a penny.

In a recent interview in 2020, he said of his estate: “I own nearly everything around here [in Sussex], and by own it, I mean own it ‒ there’s no mortgage on anything.”

It’s thought the Hamilton Palace estate is now owned by his children through the company Messina Investments, from which he resigned as director in 2002.

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