This is the £40million mansion that is bigger than Buckingham Palace – but it is no more than an empty shell and has been left to rot.
Dubbed ‘The Ghost House of Sussex’, Hamilton Place lies unfinished 35 years after building work started in 1985.
Designed for British multi-millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten, one of the wealthiest people in Sussex, there is little sign that anyone will even live in the sprawling estate close to the town of Uckfield.
But despite its scale, there is little to hint at its presence on the approach, reports Sussex Live.
It is hidden away obscured by a thick wooded area off of an unassuming junction on the A22 just south of the East Sussex town.
The only hint of what is hidden beyond the trees, is a bricked unit and large, white container. Stuck on the gate is a sign ‘High Cross Estate, Private Property, Keep Out’ written in capital letters.
If that’s not enough, multiple other signs warn of “shooting in progress”, “dogs running free” and CCTV being in operation. It is a clear message: do not try and come in.
Photos taken by drone show an eerie building, shrouded in scaffolding and overgrowing foliage, with discarded containers, construction equipment and other items litter the grounds.
Few people have ever been inside the structure. But one reporter who got a glimpse in 2000, described a grand central staircase and reception hall, with lift shafts already installed and expensive stonework.
Low-level lighting had been installed on the roof, where there was to be a garden, and there was space for a fountain below. One entire floor was due to house van Hoogstraten’s vast art collection.
Today, the building’s impressive dome still remains visible from a distance from the nearest set of houses in the hamlet of Palehouse Common.
Convicted criminal van Hoogstraten, who is now 75 and goes by the name of Nicholas von Hessen, is a Sussex native born in Shoreham who owns dozens of properties in the area.
It is believed he started making money selling stamps as a teenager before moving into property and, by the age of 22, had 350 properties in Sussex alone.
In the 1980s’ housing boom he acquired more than 2,000 dwellings and had sold 90 per cent of them by the 1990s.
Over the past couple of decades, he has been involved in widely reported issues with neighbours over the huge estate.
Furious locals have vented their anger about a public footpath that ran through the estate. Land owner van Hoogstraten did not want it to be used provoking a long-running row with neighbouring villagers.