Good news on a Friday afternoon

Gerrard Winstanley evnuk at
Fri Mar 4 17:51:21 GMT 2005

Harry has squatter's rights to Heath home

04 March 2005 
Harry Harlowe has lived in his makeshift house near Athlone House 
since 1987. 	
Marc Mullen

A SQUATTER who has lived in the grounds of a Heathside mansion for 18 
years can claim the land as his own, say legal experts.

Harry Harlowe, 68, has lived near Athlone House since 1987 but only 
has to prove he has been there for 12 years to claim squatters' 

Mr Harlowe lives in a makeshift shack in the grounds of the former 
hospital owned by the Kensington and Chelsea Hospital Trust.

Friends of the squatter have sent evidence to solicitors Wilson Barca 
that Mr Harlowe has lived on the site for more than 12 years. 

Solicitor Joe Okelue said: "We are communicating with the solicitors 
of the trust, regarding Harry's rights to the land."

The unusual case comes two months after "Rainbow" George Weiss 
successfully claimed squatters' rights on his flat in Perrin's Court, 
Hampstead, and sold it for £710,000.

Harry's claim has been backed by experts at the Advice Service for 

A spokesman for the organisation said: "If Mr Harlowe has some 
structure there and has enjoyed protected use of a defined piece of 
land he can claim adverse possession. 

"These are particularly unusual circumstances. But if he has been 
there that long, he should be able to call it home. 

"In this modern age if he really wants to live like that, he should be 
allowed to."

The Kensington and Chelsea Hospital Trust is selling Athlone House, 
which was built in 1871, to developers Dwyer International.

The firm plans to turn the building into a block of 22 luxury flats. 

Mr Harlowe's plot of land would not hold up the development as it is 
on a part of the grounds that will be handed to Hampstead Heath 
managers the Corporation of London (CoL).

But he does need sworn affidavits from two people with a solicitor 
present saying he has lived there for more than 12 years.

Paul Witt, a friend of Harry who is helping him to fight his legal 
case said: "I sent the solicitors written statements from people 
saying he has been there much longer than 12 years.

"But getting a solicitor to witness them costs money.

"Harry needs a rich sponsor to get the sworn affidavits.

"He has many friends up in Highgate - perhaps one of them can help."

Dwyer International will build 44 affordable homes on a separate site 
and donate £160,000 to Camden's education department in exchange for 
planning permission.

The agreement will also see the CoL get £50,000 and one hectare of 
land, which includes Harry's home.

Rick De Blabey, chief executive of Dwyer, said: "We have no desire to 
kick Harry out. 

"He happens to be on the part of land we are donating to the 
Corporation and I hope the Corporation will take a compassionate view.

A CoL spokesman said: "At the moment that land is not under our 

"When we do assume control we will look at the situation regarding 

marc.mullen at

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