Residents upset by plans to turn historic tea house into luxury home

Resident Simon Abbott, 80, would like to see the Tea House kept for community use. Picture: Nigel Su

Resident Simon Abbott, 80, would like to see the Tea House kept for community use. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Plans to turn a historic Hampstead Garden Suburb tea house into a luxury home have upset residents who wish to see it kept for the community.

The Tea House, in Northway, was sold by the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute (HGSI) to company LSG Capital Projects in 2008 for £750,000.

Now the company’s owner, Naresh Patel, along with his son Parag, have submitted proposals to the Suburb Trust to turn the dilapidated building into a four-bedroom home, with a two-storey extension at the rear.

Residents want to see the house, originally built by the trust in 1923 as a sports pavilion with changing rooms, restored to its former glory for the benefit of the community.

Simon Abbott, 80, chairman of Hampstead Garden Suburb Heritage, who lives in Hill Close, said: “It’s a pity that another community resource is being lost and that’s been a continuing trend.

“I hope the trust will be more successful in the future in retaining community resources.”

The trust is due to consider the application to convert the Grade II-listed building for residential use on March 19. If it approves, the plans will then proceed to Barnet Council for approval.

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Over the last fortnight, the trust has opened the plans to public consultation, inviting residents to view the architect’s drawings during public viewings at the tea house.

David Lewis, former chairman of Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association, said: “The trust is there to retain the ethos of the Suburb and I would say turning it into a [residential home] would be detrimental to that. Everyone wants this kept in the community.

“The trust owns the freehold and therefore it has the absolute right to refuse a change of use and they should do that.”

The Tea House, which was last used by the HGSI for teaching and currently houses tenants in two flats on the first floor, is showing signs of subsidence, with a number of large cracks in walls throughout the building.

Ian Angus, from the project’s architects Carden and Godfrey, said: “The house is in very poor repair and our clients are committed to the repair of the building. It is a terrific investment.”

David Davidson, the trust’s architectural adviser, said: “It’s going to require considerable investment so the new user is going to be expected to put in quite a lot of money. The only way they can do that is if it’s a commercially viable scheme.”