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Million pound Withdean house gutted in suspected arson attack
A million-pound property has been gutted in a suspected arson attack.
Firefighters took four hours to extinguish the blaze at Hillbrow Road, Withdean.
The interior of the three-floor home was completely destroyed but no-one was living there at the time.
The large detached property was recently listed for sale for £995,000 – including approved planning permission to build two extra homes in the garden.
Owner Paul Newman, from Patcham, admitted he was probably not the most popular neighbour due to the plans.
He said: “They think it’s malicious but I’m still in the dark as to the exact circumstances.
“My wife’s been shell-shocked all day because she thinks it’s malicious.
“It’s not a nice thing to happen. Brighton’s full of strange people.
“There were no tenants, the power was off. Someone’s got to have done something.
“My tenant reported prowlers around the property last year so we beefed up the security. Who knows what these people think?”
Police were called to the fire at 6.10pm on Wednesday by the fire service. Police and fire inspectors were investigating the property yesterday to try and establish the cause of the blaze.
UK Power Networks had to dig up the road after the fire affected the electricity supply.
Advertising the plot for sale, estate agent Mishon Mackay said the home had scope to add “considerable value with refurbishment and remodelling” with a south eest facing garden enjoying “stunning views over the Withdean valley”.
Developer Mr Newman won planning permission to build two properties in the garden last year after his plans were initially refused by the council.
The property and land were listed for sale but were withdrawn when Mr Newman decided to complete the building himself.
The work has been hampered by protected slow worms in the garden which will have to be carefully removed.
He added: “I’ve had tenants in there and another was due in there soon. It’s only been empty for a small amount of time.”
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