Interior designer who carried out revamp of Chelsea flat’s basement in feud with neighbour

An interior designer who carried out an extension of her Chelsea flat’s basement is in a bitter feud with her neighbour who says the renovations have ruined her property.

Olivia Walton was ordered to pay £114,000 to her upstairs neighbour for damage caused by the building work at the ground floor maisonette.

Details came to light at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as business consultant Michele Napp claims she hasn’t received a penny.

She said the work left her flat with cracks in the wall and movement in the floor.

But Miss Walton, 28, claims she cannot afford to pay out the Party Wall award to Mrs Napp, despite earning £8,000 a month in rent from the luxury Chelsea maisonette.

Her lawyers offered to instead compensate Mrs Napp at a rate of £1,500 a month in a deal that would take six years to complete.

Social media images of Miss Walton, who works for luxury interior designer Laura Hammett, show her holidaying in European hotspots such as St. Tropez while posing with designer handbags.

Her father is a property developer whose latest venture controls student accommodation near their £4.6million family home in Jesmond, Newcastle.

Due to an administrative error she did not attend the hearing – but Mrs Napp’s barrister revealed he planned to ask a district judge to rule the award is repayable in full.

It can then be sent forward to the county court where arguments over how it will be paid can be heard.

The row has dragged on for almost four years.

Ms Napp’s barrister Edward Blakeney said: “This is an application under section 17 of the Party Wall Act 1996. A Party Wall award was made on April 9 by a third party surveyor – David Moon.

“That award made for the payment of £113,86.

“£52,400 was for property damage – the rest was for cleaning bills, loss of rental income and payment of the surveyor itself.

“No such payment has been made under this award at all.”

The court heard Ms Walton’s solicitors have offered to pay Ms Napp back via a payment plan of £1,500 a month.

Mr Blakeney said this meant Ms Napp would be paid back in 6.3 years.

He said: “They suggest paying £1500 a month for the sum in question. That would take 6.3 years to pay off.

“Ms Walton rents out the property for £8,000 a month. The property itself has an estimated value of £3million. The payment plan of £1,500 is insufficient.

“To give further context, this matter began in 2015. The report came in April of this year. It had already gone on for three and a half years. As of today it has been going on for four years.

“The defendant has ample assets by which they can satisfy this debt.”

Speaking outside court, Mrs Napp claims that her property at 17 Cadogan Street has ‘floor movement’ and ‘cracks in the wall’ after the 2014 building work.

The 57-year-old, who is a senior figure at global consultancy firm KPMG, claimed she couldn’t afford to pay for litigation and is losing £4,000 a month in rent.

She believes her property has dropped in value by £500,000 while Miss Walton’s has skyrocketed from £1.3million to £3.6million following the work.

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