Poker player in £50,000 row with Highgate neighbour who owns his driveway
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An international gambler is locked in a row with his Highgate neighbour because his driveway belongs to the house next door – meaning he can’t legally access his own home.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, moved into Millfield Lane on the edge of Hampstead Heath about three years ago, after the mansion was bought by a Gibraltar-registered company, Cold As Ice Ltd. But the entrepreneur, whose hobby is tournament poker, was unaware that a small strip of land outside his front gates belongs to his neighbour, Keith King.
A representative for the entrepreneur said that Mr King was offered £50,000 for the driveway land. But Mr King says it was only £2,000, which he declined, calling it a “derisory” figure compared with the £4.85million value of his neighbour’s mansion.
In response, Cold As Ice Ltd has applied to build a new driveway adjacent to Mr King’s boundary line – sparking fury from Mr King and several of his other neighbours.
Mr King said: “I was prepared to just do a land swap because it’s no good to me.” The retired sound equipment supplier, who has lived in the lane for 39 years, added: “I’m not the big bad wolf, but it’s an asset I have and if I can benefit, I will.
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“It’s also an asset for him because if he can buy it, he can have the whole perimeter. But by getting planning permission, he’s doing it on the cheap. I have no grouse with him, but the new driveway would devastate my way of life. I’ve been very upset. I don’t want a driveway 10ft away from my front door.”
The disputed piece of cobbled land is what is known as a “ransom strip”, a small but vital piece of land needed to access a development not owned by the developer.
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The strip in Millfield Lane is slightly smaller than the size of a football goal, and is the vehicle crossover between the house and the public highway.
To get around the problem, Cold As Ice submitted plans to Camden Council late last year to build a new driveway. The entrepreneur was not aware that the land belonged to the house next door because of misinformation from Camden Council, according to a document attached to the driveway application.
Several neighbours, and amenity group the Highgate Society, are opposing its construction.
A spokesman for the applicant said: “This is an unfortunate situation which only came to light after the purchase of the property. I hope that we can reach a quick and amicable resolution for all parties.”