Derelict ‘Taj’ set for demolition

Derelict ‘Taj’ set for demolition

RADHIKA and Pankaj Oswal will be told to tear down their unfinished $70 million mansion �Taj Mahal by the Swan� by the Shire of Peppermint Grove today.

After last night�s meeting, chief executive John Merrick said the council would �absolutely� demolish the building and clear the 6600sq m site if the couple did not follow with its order.

�Because it�s uninhabitable, it�s a danger, it�s a health risk, it�s a terrible blight on the community and it�s dilapidated,� Mr Merrick said.

Construction on the former eight-lot site stopped in January 2011 and the couple left Australia.

Last December, the council declared the mansion uninhabitable but received $58,000 in owed rates, leaving about $100,000 still allegedly outstanding, before the mansion was dubbed a �ghetto� by neighbours when it was itargetted by graffiti artists and trespassers during summer.

During a post-Christmas exchange of about 30 letters and 20 emails with the Oswals� Sydney lawyers, the council understood any demolition order was likely to be appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) by Mrs Oswal in 21 days of any order, while an eventual SAT decision could take an additional month.

Mr Merrick said council legal advice on whether a SAT decision adverse for the Oswals could go to the WA Supreme Court was �grey�, but the council did expect �clear sailing� for the demolition order at the SAT.

The council can recover its demolition costs by sale of the site but it would require Australian Tax Office permission.

The Oswal�s lawyers have been contacted for comment this morning.