Neverland: The home that never was to be...
PUBLISHED: 16:14 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:34 12 August 2010
GATES of a mansion that was ready to greet the King of Pop remain closed after his sudden death rocked the world. Residents are said to be saddened by
GATES of a mansion that was ready to greet the King of Pop remain closed after his sudden death rocked the world.
Residents are said to be saddened by the death of Michael Jackson just days before he was set to move to Foxbury Manor, Chislehurst ahead of his 50-date O2 tour.
Current owner of the 32-bedroom mansion in Kemnal Road, Osman Ertosun, who is set to lose out on the £1 million rent the Billie Jean singer was due to pay, has been gagged from talking to the press.
He told reporters he had signed a legal non-disclosure and was unable to comment on the situation after news broke about the star's death last Thursday.
It is believed he had already moved his family to a property in Orpington where they were due to stay for a year.
Neighbour Tony Allen of the Kemnal Road Residents Association said: "He was a class act and nobody likes to see a man like that die at that age. It is obviously very sad and disappointing that he died before he came here. It would have been very exciting to have such a big star living at the bottom of the road, but it was not to be.
"But what would have happened if he died in Chislehurst? It would have put Chislehurst on the world map. The road would have been awash with fans, so we are grateful that it happened outside of the village.
"I have mixed feelings, one of sadness because the man has died but some relief that it didn't happen here as it would have been a circus."
Jackson is said to have become smitten with the house when he secretly viewed it in March while on his promotional UK visit.
Ahead of his scheduled move last weekend, the house was said to have undergone a massive revamp including the installation of a bowling alley and other attractions.
Mr Allen, who last visited the 22,000 sq ft house before 2002 when it was owned by the Woolwich Building Society, said: "Back then it was a bit shabby in that it needed a bit of TLC, nevertheless it was still a very fine house, nice size rooms, nice and light, big windows. I guess it would be expensive to heat in the winter. But it was a splendid house and remains so to this day."
The majority of his prospective neighbours were looking forward to having the star living down the road from them but some had security concerns, he said.
"We had a mixture of feeling, we were excited but we had some apprehension that some of his weirder fans would come here," he added.
"Some people in the larger houses were concerned that fans would mix their house with Foxbury Manor and climb over walls into their gardens and so on. There were some fears about security.
"We were told members of his staff would let residents of the road know how it was likely to affect us. But that didn't materialise before he died."
Jackson's management asked Bromley police to provide a quote for how much it would cost to have two police officers for six months. A spokesperson for Bromley police said: "It was around £490,000. We were in the early stages of discussing security arrangements with Michael Jackson's own security firm.
"We would have provided extra assistance in the case of an intruder while his own staff would take care of securing the house."
Devastated fans have held a vigil outside the O2 in Greenwich following the pop icon's death.
Ticket holders for the London gigs have a choice between a refund or having the tickets to keep as a piece of memorabilia.
Michael Jackson designed the tickets for the This is It concert himself.
President and CEO of AEG Live, Randy Phillips said: "Since he loved his fans in life, it is incumbent upon us to treat them with the same reverence and respect after his death."
For more details go to www.michaeljacksonlive.com.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bromley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.