By Ajay Jones
The eyesore, half-built Peppermint Grove mansion, labelled ‘Taj Mahal on Swan’, is set to be demolished after sitting derelict for five years.
The over-the-top property in the style of an Indian palace was once meant to be Australia’s most expensive property with an estimated value of $70 million.
Owners Pankaj and Radhika Oswal abandoned the unfinished mansion and fled the country when their company, Burrup Fertilisers, collapsed in 2011.
The controversial couple has been the subject of a legal battle between the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Peppermint Grove Shire for nearly five years.
After a series of court actions, the ATO was successful in getting a judgment against the couple to the amount of $186 million in outstanding tax.
From this judgment, the Oswals refused to negotiate an outcome with the mansion resulting in the shire taking matters to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
SAT issued the demolition order on Friday and stated it must commence on the 30th December 2015 and be completed by the 30th September 2016.
Chief Executive Officer John Merrick from the Peppermint Grove Shire was delighted with the outcome.
“This result now gives residents certainty for the future,” said Mr Merrick.
The State Revenue Department is owed $1.4 million for outstanding land tax, the Water Corporation $40,000 for the connection of water, the Peppermint Grove Shire just over $100,000 in outstanding rates and a plumber is owed $63, 000 for the work he started on the property.
The 6,582sq mansion is now covered in graffiti, used as a skating area for young teenagers and a frequent meeting place for drug takers.
Mack Hall, Principal of Mack Hall Real Estate and frequent seller in Peppermint Grove, said it didn’t affect the market in Peppermint Grove.
“I, like everyone else, just wanted it finished or knocked down now,” said Mr Hall.
Peppermint Grove residents are thrilled with the recent outcome.
“We are so pleased it has finally got the approval to be demolished,” said Shelley Cooper.
“It really was a terrible looking property.”