Friday, 21 August 2009

Squatters wreck £2m home of Inspector Morse

I know a lot of you are Morse fans and thought you might not have heard about this, so i thought i'd post it for you all to read.

By Tim Stewart
Squatters have turned Inspector Morse's once elegant home into an eyesore. Fans of the TV series will remember John Thaw's detective character pulling up in the drive of the large Victorian house in his vintage red Jaguar.

Although the ITV drama - filmed between 1987 and 2000 - was set in Oxford, the house is in Ealing. The property is part of the Castlehill Park Estate, home to Queen Victoria's father, the Duke of Kent.

Members of the Inspector Morse Appreciation Society regularly travel to see the house, which was once worth more than £2million. But they have been horrified to find it is now derelict with boarded-up windows and doors.

The squatters have stripped valuable fittings from the house and left its overgrown gardens strewn with junk furniture and rubbish. The Poles first moved into the property's garages - former stables - last September.

When the weather turned cold, they broke into the house through a back door and up to 15 were living there until they were evicted by owner, Newcastle Building Society, just over a month ago. The society has boarded up the windows and doors to prevent the squatters from returning. Nearby residents have branded the property an "eyesore" and demanded that the building society cleans up the site.

So far, it has failed to remove the rubbish, which includes tatty mattresses, suitcases and a barbecue set. Neighbour of 30 years Don Liyanage, 63, said: "It is such a shame to see a once fine property in such a state. I have seen Inspector Morse Appreciation Society members standing there dumbfounded that such a beautiful house from the show could be reduced to this. I used to enjoy watching the filming and John Thaw was a nice man.
"But now I have a total eyesore next to me. No one has ever paid attention to the elegance of the property and the squatters broke in through the back door and stripped it of piping, fireplaces and other valuable fittings.

"I have complained to Ealing council about the rubbish but they would not tell me who the owner was. I've had to use my own detective skills to even find out who owns Morse's house."
The building society says it plans to renovate the property and has hired renovation company The Haywoods Group with a view to renting it out as flats. A spokeswoman said: "The property was formally taken into possession by Newcastle Building Society during June. The Society will continue with its plans to refurbish the property and the planning permission is in place."

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