Search

Campaigners windswept and resolute in last stand to save Athlone House from demolition

PUBLISHED: 11:08 10 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:09 10 January 2014

Highgate Society members Catherine Budgett Meakin, Richard Webber and Michael Hammerson, hand out leaflets and talk to passers by on Hampstead Heath about the campaign opposing the application to demolish Athlone House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Highgate Society members Catherine Budgett Meakin, Richard Webber and Michael Hammerson, hand out leaflets and talk to passers by on Hampstead Heath about the campaign opposing the application to demolish Athlone House. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

The wind howled and the rain poured but campaigners determined to save Athlone House from demolition were undeterred in their last-ditch effort to get residents to join their fight.

Three members of the Highgate Society asked windswept walkers to object to the latest plans to demolish the 19th century building, on the edge of Hampstead Heath near Highgate, on Sunday.

Catherine Budgett-Meakin, Richard Webber, head of publications, and environment committee member Michael Hammerson braved the bad weather to tell passers-by about proposals to knock down the former RAF intelligence base and hospital and replace it with an eight-bedroom home, with basement car park and swimming pool.

Today is the last day residents can write to Camden Council with their thoughts and Ms Budgett-Meakin, 67, is leading the campaign to get people to have their say.

“I think the developer is just trying to grind us down. Hampstead Heath is not just a London thing, it’s a British thing and Athlone House is part of that,” said the Bisham Gardens resident.

“Standing on the Heath in this freezing, dirty weather is not something I would choose to do but every time I have done it, I have been bowled over by people’s outrage at what is going on and how they feel that the developers and planners are reworking the planning system.”

Objectors to the planning application say that the developers should stick to a historic agreement requiring the previous owners to restore the derelict house to its former glory.

They criticised the council for being “feckless” in allowing planning applications to be submitted and not forcing the owners, Athlone House Limited, to refurbish the house.

A spokesman for Athlone House Limited said: “It is unrealistic to expect the new owner to implement the existing planning consent given the very poor condition of the building and the need to provide a very high-quality living environment to meet today’s standards.”

A spokesman for Camden Council said: “The Section 106 agreement required Athlone House to be renovated within 42 months of work on the construction of flats in Caenwood Court. While any application or appeal is on the table, it is almost impossible for the council to convince a court to sanction enforcement action. Throughout the entirety of this process the council has been conducting regular checks of the property to ensure the owner is complying with the obligations which ensure that the property is secure, as well as wind and water tight to avoid further deterioration.”

Hundreds of people have written to the council voicing their thoughts, with thousands more signing the Highgate Society’s online petition objecting to the planning application.

Kirsten de Keyser, Highgate Society chairman, said: “When you talk to people, they say it won’t make a difference [to write in to the council] but massive volume is ammunition for the councillors.”

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Friday, May 26, 2017

A man who started his first business at the age of 14 and who has dedicated his life to entrepreneurialism is hoping to turn Holborn and St Pancras blue.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The introduction of plans to relocate a 110-year-old library to a nearby arts centre has been met with resistance by users.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A tax on salt, scrapping Trident and adding a penny to income tax were three solutions to the social care crisis put forward in a general election hustings yesterday.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Villagey Hampstead and Highgate are among the most desirable places in the country to live - but these five maps reveal stark differences in social inequality throughout the borough of Camden.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Police have released an image of a man they want to speak to in connection with a sexual assault.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Naturists are campaigning this summer to be able to enjoy the Heath and will be carrying out informal polls to gauge public opinion.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An army of schoolchildren, staff and parents have raised £2,000 by taking part in a sponsored walk around Highgate Woods.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A philanthropist and former refugee has urged the next government to ensure the safe passage of thousands more children, as he shared a stage with two Syrian refugees.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Often one of the most daunting parts of going through a divorce or separation is knowing what steps to take first and how to deal with financial issues which arise. Here, Jessica Palmer of Streathers Solicitors in Hampstead, offers answers to commonly asked questions

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

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