Search

Homeland’s Damian Lewis and Harry Potter’s Helen McCrory oppose plans for luxury home next to school in Belsize Park

PUBLISHED: 05:00 07 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:51 07 March 2013

Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis are opposing plans for the home next to St Christopher's School in Belsize Park

Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis are opposing plans for the home next to St Christopher's School in Belsize Park

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Hollywood couple is backing a campaign by schoolchildren to block plans for a luxury home next to their playground – which they claim would blight the Belsize Park school forever.

St Christopher's School Parents & children protesting against plans for a housing development on the edge of their school. St Christopher's School Parents & children protesting against plans for a housing development on the edge of their school.

Actors Damian Lewis, from TV’s Homeland, and wife Helen McCrory, who starred as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, joined hundreds of pupils from St Christopher’s School – including their daughter – to protest against plans for a neighbouring modern three-bedroom house.

Leisure complex

If the plans go-ahead, construction vehicles will descend on the site in Lyndhurst Gardens to dig out a two-storey basement leisure complex.

The all-girls primary school, which charges almost £4,000 a term, said the new house would tower over its playground and dust from the construction work would prevent them using their science garden.

The thespian couple, who sat opposite President Obama at a White House dinner last year, joined around 30 parents at a planning hearing on Tuesday to object to the plans.

Ms McCrory, who played Cherie Blair in Oscar-winning film The Queen, told the Ham&High: “It’s amazing. You have hundreds of people complaining because someone wants to build a swimming pool.”

Dozens of school girls marched on Camden Town Hall last September armed with placards bearing the campaign slogan “education not excavation”.

They helped convince planning officials to reject the plans to bulldoze a 1970s two-bedroom bungalow and replace it with the luxury home, featuring a swimming pool, gym and sunken courtyard.

But developer Lyndhurst Gardens LLP, set up by company Vabel, is now challenging the decision through the Planning Inspectorate.

Representing the school at the hearing was QC Fiona Parkin, of Wedderburn Road in Belsize Park, who has a daughter at the school.

She said: “The wall (of the home) is going to be raised and the building will stand up above the school.”

Headmistress Susie West said: “For us, plonking down this mass of brick will create a sense of enclosure for the pupils.”

Stephen Brown, of Croftdown Road, Dartmouth Park, who has two daughters at the school, said: “The serenity and enjoyment the girls have from the place will be impacted quite severely.

‘‘You have to balance the interest of many generations of school girls against one home owner.”

Stephen Gray, a heritage consultant employed by Vabel, said: “The area is a choir singing a rather rousing piece of Edwardian music by Elgar and the existing bungalow is singing rather out of key, but quietly, so no one really notices.”

He added that the new house would be a “descant singing against the prevailing tune, which can be a beautiful thing”.

A decision on the planning appeal will be made in coming weeks.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played in the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz will join other survivors at an event to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day at JW3, the London Jewish Cultural Centre,in Hampstead.

10:16

Students from Portland Place School have demonstrated their support for anti-bullying by winning first place in the ‘odd socks day challenge’.

On Monday January 15, the BBC featured the enforcement of council tax in its Inside Out London programme.

January is well underway but it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Gazette readers this week.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for the dismissal of Inner North London’s senior coroner Mary Hassell after a “deeply disappointing” meeting with community leaders to discuss her refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, has added his voice to the calls for the resignation of Inner North London coroner Mary Hassell.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dinny Hall has designed women’s jewellery for more than 30 years. Described as a ‘little British Tiffany’, she lives in West Hampstead.

PROMOTED CONTENT

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

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