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Squatters move into £1million Highgate house near Kate Moss’ home

PUBLISHED: 20:18 24 November 2011

Squatters have moved into the £5million property in Hillcrest Avenue, Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Squatters have moved into the £5million property in Hillcrest Avenue, Highgate. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Squatters say they have been driven to occupy a £1million house on one of Highgate’s most exclusive roads because London rents are “ridiculous”.

Six people moved into Hillcrest Lodge, a large Victorian house in Hillcrest Avenue, three weeks ago and have pinned up a notice to the front window claiming “squatter’s rights” under the Criminal Justice Act.

A 24-year-old squatter insisted the property owner knew of their presence and that they were contributing to the community by bringing an empty building back into use.

The Polish woman, who did not want to be named, said: “You have two types of squatters. Some people rush into these houses, but we are not that type of person. The owner, she knows we are here, so everything is sorted, and no one suffers.”

She added: “We always try to find buildings which are empty and abandoned.

“We have so many empty buildings which are just not in use and no one living in them. Why? It is a big waste.

“My friend is a single mum and she was waiting for a very long time to get a council flat. She was living in a squat because she couldn’t afford to pay rent and make money. Squatting is a kind of solution.”

The palatial house is located in one of Highgate’s most exclusive roads, near the homes of supermodel Kate Moss and actor Jude Law.

It is directly opposite historic 18th century pub The Bull, which also became home to squatters at the end of last year.

Local estate agents Litchfield say the Hillcrest Avenue house is worth an estimated £5million.

According to neighbours, it used to be owned by Haringey Council and was split up into flats before being bought by developers a couple of years ago.

Builders began to renovate the house, but work stopped abruptly two years ago at the height of the recession.

Bricks and other debris remain strewn in the front garden.

The woman said she began squatting a year ago when she moved to London from her home country Poland, having graduated in art.

She said: “London is the perfect place with the perfect energy to get on with your own projects.

“Maybe it is a myth. London is not paradise.

“But believe me, for me it is so much easier to survive here without the kind of stress that I had in Poland.

“I found a job related to my studies, which is something. I don’t want to be a waitress. For me, that is more important.

“Squatting for me is not forever, it is something I do for the moment. As long as I don’t hurt somebody else’s feelings it is okay.”

The Ham&High was unable to contact the owner of the property.


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