Photographs of Hamilton Palace accompany lengthy articles about the background to the copper-domed building. Construction started in 1985 and had cost about £40 million by 2006. It was intended to house his art collection – currently stored in Switzerland – and to be a mausoleum, ensuring his trust would legally own the buildings and their fittings after his death.
Hoogstraten was involved in a long-running fued with the Ramblers’ Association in the 1980s over Framfield footpath nine, illegally obstructed for 13 years until 2003. When a walker saw a barn built over the path he was accosted by an estate contractor and reported the issue to East Sussex County Council. Padlocked gates and refrigeration units were put in place to block the path.
In 1998 the Ramblers’ central office took on the campaign. Hoogstraten called them ‘riff raff’ and ‘scum of the earth.’ According to Open Spaces Society spokesman Chris Smith there was a protracted legal battle with ESCC when Hoogstraten set up companies, apparently to frustrate the process.
Ramblers pressed for a clause in the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) act which ultimately gave magistrates the power to remove obstructions. More lengthy legal arguments followed until the liquidator of one paper company set up to fight the case agreed to move the obstructions. On February 10 2003 there was a celebratory wire-cutting at the scene. Chris Smith said: “Mr Hoogstraten’s Path is the title of a walk on our website. To begin with people were too scared to come, but there have been no problems with the famous path for many years.”
Hoogstraten was born in Bognor in 1946, sold stamps to collectors at the age of 11 and began business dealing at the age of 14. In 1964 he bought an estate in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and is a close associate of Robert Mugabe.
He served time in 2002 was sentenced to 10 years for the manslaughter of a business rival.
The verdict was overturned on appeal but in 2005 he was ordered to pay the victim’s family £6 million in a civil case.
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