Search

Billionaire’s plan to replace historic Athlone House with palatial home rejected by council

12:37 01 August 2014

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam's image of a boot, in the style of his iconic foot of Cupid used in the opening titles of Monty Python's Flying Circus, squashing Athlone House

Archant

Owners hoping to knock down Athlone House and replace it with a palatial home overlooking Hampstead Heath will have to take their fight higher up after Camden Council rejected the planning application.

A bid to replace historic Athlone House in Highgate with an eight-bedroom luxury home was rejected by councillors during yesterday evening’s Development Control Committee meeting, with some describing the proposals as “Stalinist” and “grotesque”.

More than 5,000 people formally objected to the plans in what is thought to be a record-smashing number.

But yesterday’s decision has not been welcomed by campaigners as an outright victory.

Planning officers recommended that committee members refuse planning permission but a legal bid to get plans approved by the Planning Inspectorate has already been lodged by developers.

The protection of the building from demolition is also still uncertain.

Most objectors had signed a petition calling for the mysterious owner to honour a historic agreement to restore it to its former glory.

The agreement required Athlone House to be renovated within 42 months of work starting on the construction of flats in Caenwood Court.

As the deadline for renovation works to the house approached, an application to demolish and rebuild the property was submitted.

Until the current application has been resolved, the council says, it is unable to take enforcement action on the previous agreement.

Politicians, community groups, international visitors and those living nearer to home – including Monty Python actor Terry Gilliam – have all condemned the proposed demolition of the former RAF base and hospital on the edge of Hampstead Heath in Highgate.

Also among the complainants are the great-great-granddaughter of the house’s original builder, the superintendant of Hampstead Heath, the grandaughter of one of the mansion’s last occupiers, national conservation group English Heritage, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone and Camden Council’s finance chief Cllr Theo Blackwell.

A spokesman for Athlone House Limited said: “We remain absolutely committed to building a house of the highest quality on this important site.”

For more on this story, see the next edition of the Ham&High (out August 7).

0 comments

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 News Stories

53 minutes ago
Patrick O'Leary

A member of a violent gang that burst into a woman’s home and stabbed her in the face with a screwdriver has been jailed.

Keith Matthews, Oxfam shop manager, who was handed a log book from HMS Drake by a mystery donor.
 Picture: Nigel Sutton

A century-old logbook detailing life aboard the doomed HMS-Drake has been handed into the Kentish Town branch of Oxfam by a mystery donor.

Yesterday, 17:45
Lynne Featherstone accepts her award from Ben Cohen, chief executive and founder of Pink News.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone has been named the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s “ally of the year” by Pink News, the biggest gay news service in Britain.

Yesterday, 15:50
Sheila Gunn

A former Camden councillor who served as press secretary to Sir John Major during a distinguished career in journalism and politics has died.

Most read news

These images show the lava’s path from a sky-high vantage point.

Would a prominent calorie label on your booze make you think twice before tanking up?

Looking for a holiday? We know a company that are keen to flog you a trip to the land of Kim Jong-un.

Biffo and Bobo better stay away from the town of Vendargues this Halloween.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition