Forgotten £40m mansion bigger than Buckingham Palace abandoned for 36 years

A grand half-built mansion bigger than Buckingham Palace has been forgotten and abandoned for decades and 'could be haunted', according to neighbours.

Kent Live reports the home — surrounded by acres of lush green countryside— can be found just off a junction on the A22 south of Uckfield in East Sussex, and has been unoccupied since work began in 1985.

Once the most expensive private property ever built in the UK, it was designed for British multi-millionaire Nicholas van Hoogstraten, but was never finished.

Its severe state of disrepair means it is unlikely to ever be lived in, and few people have ever been in. Rumours have circulated that spirits inhabit the property instead, earning it the nickname among locals of the 'Ghost house of Sussex'.

Adventurers curious over the huge mansion can't even get close, as it's surrounded in thick woodland.

The closest glance you may be lucky to get is at the foot of the gated entrance.

One reporter who entered in 2000, when construction was claimed by developers to be two years off completion, described a grand central staircase and reception hall, with lift shafts already installed and expensive stone balustrades and pillars.

Low-level lighting had been installed on the roof, where there was to be a garden, and there was space allocated for a fountain below.

An entire floor was earmarked to house van Hoogstraten's extensive art collection.

Van Hoogstraten, a convicted criminal who is now 75 and goes by the name of Nicholas von Hessen, is said to have started making money selling stamps as a teenager before moving into property. By the age of 22, he had 350 properties in Sussex alone.

Over the past couple of decades, he has been involved in widely reported disputes with neighbours over the huge estate.

Locals have previously vented about the large area being left unused and there was a row over a public footpath that ran through it that van Hoogstraten did not want to be used.

In answer to those complaints, he is quoted as saying "even the most moronic of peasants would be able to see… that we have been busy landscaping the grounds of the palace so as to prepare for scheduled works".

He has also denied that the house is falling apart, saying: "Hamilton Palace is far from 'crumbling' and was built to last for at least 2,000 years. The scaffolding only remains as a part of ongoing routine maintenance such a property would require until completion."

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