Chav lotto winner's home halves in value

JUST over six years ago a carpet of snow drops covered the well tended gardens of this once picturesque home. Now it is a near derelict eye sore, stripped of fixtures, fittings and wiring by looters and its grounds littered with blown-out tyres, hubcaps, broken computer consoles and broken glass.

JUST over six years ago a carpet of snow drops covered the well tended gardens of this once picturesque home.

Now it is a near derelict eye sore, stripped of fixtures, fittings and wiring by looters and its grounds littered with blown-out tyres, hubcaps, broken computer consoles and broken glass.

It is all that is left of The Grange, a mansion bought for £320,000 by former binman Michael Carroll after he hit the jackpot and won £9.7m on the Lottery in 2002.

He used it for demolition derbies and parties over a period of two years.

Had it been kept in good condition, it could have been worth about £500,000, an estate agent has said.

Instead it is valued, in its current state, at a paltry £150,000 to £200,000 - less than the price of an average three bedroom semi-detached home in a Norwich suburb.

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Breckland Council says it is almost powerless to do anything about the eyesore - because it was in private hands and no environmental health or structural concerns had been raised about it.

The council also said that much trumpeted powers to force owners of empty homes make properties liveable in again could in reality take years to implement.

Mr Carroll, from his home on a residential housing development in the centre of Downham Market, said he was planning to renovate it in the next six to eight months and was thinking about renting it out - he suggested to migrant workers.

He said he had wanted to demolish the house and build nine homes to sell on, but that he had been unable to get planning permission due to issues with access on to the A47.

“I want to get it done up in the next six or eight months and rent it out,” he said.

A spokesman for Breckland Council said it was at the early stages of dealing with the house as an empty home under new legislation.

The Housing Act 2004 gives councils powers to force home owners to bring homes back into a liveable state, in order to help reduce the number of homeless people in bed and breakfast accommodation.

But a spokesman said taking out an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO), one of the new powers, could take 12 to 18 months.

Under the act, an EDMO would have to be granted by a Residential Property Tribunal - and that would only be allowed after 'all other means' of getting the owner to repair the home have been tried.

Until then the property would worth be less than half of what it was bought for in 2003.

Ian Revell, an estate agent in Swaffham, said the house and land at The Grange, in its current state, was worth about £150,000 to £200,000.

But that if someone spent £300,000 doing it up it could be worth £400,000 to £500,000 and could be rented out for a reasonable income.

However, because it was on the A47, its value would always be restricted and it would be difficult to develop the land around it.

Since Mr Carroll hit the jackpot, the 25-year-old self-proclaimed King of Chavs has allegedly frittered away his fortunes on women, alcohol and cocaine. He also racked up at the same time ASBOs, motoring offences, criminal charges and a prison sentence.

He moved from The Grange in 2004 to a £350,000 ranch style home in Bexwell Road in Downham market before moving to Felbrigg Road.