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, 18:21

Both of Camden’s Labour MPs who backed Owen Smith in the leadership contest have called for party unity as speculation mounts over whether they will serve on Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench team if invited.

Yesterday, 18:05

Police figures show the number of drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel is on the rise.

Yesterday, 17:06

The suspect apparently had nothing in which to stash the money and left a trail of cash as he left

Yesterday, 16:35

Local MPs have overwhelmingly backed calls for the government to make historic changes to end the secrecy surrounding offshore property sales.

Yesterday, 16:01

Highgate farmers’ market organisers are encouraging more community gardeners and allotment groups to get in touch to sell their produce

Yesterday, 14:05

Jeremy Corbyn may have called for unity after decisively seeing off Owen Smith in the Labour leadership challenge, but his plea fell on deaf ears with Lord Mitchell of Hampstead, who announced this weekend that he has quit the party.

Yesterday, 11:18

A brave and adventurous 14-year-old boy is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of his sister who died recently

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Crouch End woman and three others have been sentenced for their roles in attempting to defraud a Camden housing association of nearly £430,000.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

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

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now