Search

Athlone House campaigners asked to dig deep ahead of costly legal battle

08:00 03 July 2014

Highgate Society vice-president Michael Hammerson and Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee chairman Susan Rose with just a few of the files that the society holds on the campaign for Athlone House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highgate Society vice-president Michael Hammerson and Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee chairman Susan Rose with just a few of the files that the society holds on the campaign for Athlone House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

More than 5,000 people who pledged support in the fight to save a Victorian mansion from demolition have been asked to dig deep in the face of a looming legal battle.

The anonymous owners of Athlone House, on the edge of Hampstead Heath, are to take their bid to knock down the 19th-century mansion to a planning inspector after Camden Council failed to make a decision on its application within the legal time limit.

The Highgate Society has now launched an appeal for funds to cover its legal costs in order to carry on its tenacious battle to save the 1870 house from being replaced with an opulent eight-bedroom home with a basement swimming pool and ballroom.

Susan Rose, chairman of the Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee and a member of the Highgate Society, said: “We can’t be sure that we can get support pro bono. You can’t expect highly-paid professionals to give up their time. We’ve relied on people’s good nature but when push comes to shove, barristers have to eat like anyone else.”

Athlone House Limited bought the mansion in 2005, but plans to demolish it were rejected by the council in 2010 and the Planning Inspectorate in 2011 on appeal.

Thousands upon thousands of people, including Monty Python legend and film director Terry Gilliam, have signed a petition calling for the council to refuse the application after it was lodged at the town hall in November last year.

The council could still give the proposals the green light at a planning committee meeting scheduled for July 31.

But an approval would not eliminate the society’s need to fund 
legal representation, as campaigners have already decided they will seek expert advice on whether to take the local authority’s decision to the High Court and seek a judicial review. Dr Rose has estimated the campaign group needs to raise about £20,000.

Highgate Society vice-president Michael Hammerson said: “If every one of the 5,000 people who signed the petition could give us £10, that would cover our legal costs. Talking to people, they seem as angry at what’s going on as we do, so we hope they will respond to our appeal.”

A spokesman on behalf of the Athlone House team said: “We remain committed to building a house of the highest quality on this important site and we are disappointed that we have had to 
appeal for a second time.

“The revised proposal, whilst maintaining the same architectural quality, is substantially smaller, and there have been some significant design changes.

“National planning policy has moved on since the previous 
appeal and we are now confident that our reduced scheme is eminently supportable.

“Although we are disappointed that this revised application has gone to appeal, a public inquiry will give all interested parties the opportunity to take part and make their views known to the planning inspector.”

Cllr Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “The latest application has raised a number of complex issues, in addition to some 4,000 representations from local residents to consider. I am very disappointed that the applicant has appealed rather than let the council decide.

“The proposal will still be presented to the council’s planning committee so that the community can have their say and the views of the committee can be given to the planning inspector as part of the appeal. The council will be vigorously defending the appeal.”

n To donate, contact the Highgate Society at highgatesociety.com/pages/contact-us.php.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

Yesterday, 14:44
Barnet and Camden's re-elected Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said the inquiry currently being undertaken by Barnet Councill into the polling day blunder is looking

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has claimed the inquiry into the mayoral polling day debacle in Barnet is looking “increasingly like a whitewash”.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Mayor of Haringey Councillor Ali Ozbek. Photo: Polly Hancock

Haringey appointed its first mayor of Kurdish Alevi descent at a ceremony boosted with overseas family and the Turkish press on Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Pets are leaping forward for initial photoshoots. Picture: Daniel Emani

An aspiring philanthropist is launching a Crouch End pets calendar to fundraise for animals abandoned in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal hit by the eurozone crisis.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Police have released this CCTV image of a car they wish to trace

Detectives have today announced a £5,000 reward to help track down arsonists who destroyed a Muswell Hill community centre.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Oliver McHugh, of Oliver's Town estate agents. Picture: Rena Pearl

An estate agent vandalised a car outside court after he was forced to hand over £3,000 to a recruitment manager in fees and fines.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Highgate residents hold a street party to say goodbye to the Patel family who have run Northwood news community shop for more than 30 years.

Huge crowds gathered in Highgate for a “bittersweet” goodbye to a well-loved community shop after 30 years of business.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Headteacher Mel Servent, comedian Tim Vine and CEO Jo Honigmann at the Globe. Photo: John Macdonald-Fulton

200 guests attended the Wizard of Oz-themed dinner, hosted by comedian Tim Vine.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe