Demolition begins on Mole Man’s De Beauvoir mansion

The council were not consulted on demolition work which removed a whole floor of the notorious Mole Man’s former abode in De Beauvoir last week.

The council were not consulted on demolition work which removed a whole floor of the notorious Mole Man’s former abode in De Beauvoir last week.

A demolition company spent a week working on deceased eccentric William Lyttle’s dilapidated �1 million mansion in Mortimer Road – until the council ordered them to stop.

The 79-year old electrical engineer, who gained worldwide fame after he spent 40 years digging a 60-foot network of tunnels beneath his home, died in June - owing over �400,000 to the council, which saved the building from collapse.

Because the De Beauvoir conservation area is subject to an article 4 direction, any alteration to a building must be approved by the council beforehand.


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Stamford Road resident and former head of Hackney Council’s planning committee Chris O’Leary was up in arms about the alterations to the building.

“I have watched that house disintegrate - but then to watch it being demolished, without having my views as a local resident considered by a developer, who decides to circumnavigate the planning permission, is absolutely horrible,” he said.

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“What’s the point of having a conservation area, where if they paint a house the planning authorities take action, but if they demolish it, they do nothing?

“I don’t think a developer should benefit from basically ignoring the planning process - to ignore that process is like spitting in your face,” he added.

Andrew Fraser, the developer who claims to be acting as administrator for Mr Lyttle’s relatives – lodged a planning application on September 15 to demolish the building and construct a four-storey block of eight two-bedroom flats on the site.

According to a council spokeswoman, a 2006 structural survey - which classified the building as a dangerous structure - gave him the “legal right” to carry out the demolition work.

But the council would not allow The Gazette to see the 2006 document, and confirmed Mr Fraser had not carried out a further structural survey before part-demolishing the building.

She added that the works had now been approved, but legal action would be taken if any more of the building is demolished.

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