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The home that was never meant to be

PUBLISHED: 16:56 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:53 25 August 2010

GATES: Foxbury Manor – silent.

GATES: Foxbury Manor - silent.

GATES of a mansion that was ready to greet the King of Pop remain closed after his shock death that has rocked the world.

GATES of a mansion that was ready to greet the King of Pop remain closed after his shock death that has 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, 50, 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.

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 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 after holding a short press conference in March at The O², Greenwich, to announce his This is It concert. The world's premier venue is now the focal point for fans grief.

Ahead of his scheduled move last weekend, Foxbury Manor was said to have undergone a massive revamp, including the installation of a bowling alley and other attractions.

Mr Allen, who last visited the 22,000sqft 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 up 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."

Devastated fans have held a vigil outside the O² last Friday morning following the news of his death from a suspected heart attack, singing impromptu songs and dancing in tribute to the star.

But concert bosses have been criticised for 'taking advantage' of mourning fans by offering them an option of a souvenir ticket instead of a refund.

Concert organisers AEG announced at 5am on Tuesday that ticket holders for all of the 50 This is It dates would get a refund but offered an option of forfeiting the full refund in exchange for a souvenir ticket.

They claimed that the tickets, that were due to be sent out a week before the concert date, were designed by Jackson himself and printed with a special lenticular process which allows images to move when viewed from different angles.

Science student Colette Smith, 23, who was due to travel with her family from Sheffield to the concert as a graduation present told the Times: "It is stupid because it is £75 a ticket plus £10 booking fee for each ticket. £85 is a lot of money for a piece of paper that loads of people might say 'I'll have that' so it may not end up being that unique.

"It is insensitive and an insult to people's intelligence. They are preying on the vulnerable."

Damian Cooper, 26, from Blackheath, who was due to go to the concert with his sister, mother and father said he will choose to get a refund on all four tickets.

He said: "You would have to be a pretty hardcore fan to go for the second option. It is fairly cheeky.

"But they did come back on the refund. We thought there was a chance we wouldn't be getting one."

He added: "Sadly, I never saw him live, I was hoping to whilst he was at the O². I'm gutted I never saw the Moonwalk live.

"He clearly wasn't in the best shape physically and mentally, I think he found himself in a situation he could never win."

Announcing the refund, President and CEO of AEG Live, Randy Phillips said: "The world lost a kind soul who just happened to be the greatest entertainer the world has ever known.

"Since he loved his fans in life, it is incumbent upon us to treat them with the same reverence and respect after his death."

l The offer to receive the actual tickets will remain until August 14 at 11.59pm. For more details go to www.michaeljacksonlive.com.

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