Belsize residents up in arms over mansion houses
Ben McPartland CONTROVERSIAL plans for two new mansion houses in Belsize Park have brought neighbours out in force to protest. Stephan Hall and Bill Emmott want to demolish their one-storey homes and build two four-level family houses worth up to �5millio
CONTROVERSIAL plans for two new mansion houses in Belsize Park have brought neighbours out in force to protest.
Stephan Hall and Bill Emmott want to demolish their one-storey homes and build two four-level family houses worth up to �5million each.
The plans are unpopular with neighbours, who say they would be a huge overdevelopment and cause misery while the building work goes on.
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They also claim the bulldozing of two 1980s houses would be harmful to the conservation area, because they are of architectural significance.
Resident Ian Jewel said: "These houses will spoil this beautiful street. They will stick out like sore thumbs wedged between the other buildings. They are removing two buildings of architectural significance and replacing them with ones that are not.
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"Every time there is a book written about Belsize Park, these two houses are mentioned as examples of good architecture.
"Our main objection is that we are in a conservation area so it should not be developed in any way at all. It will also mean an enormous amount of extra cars in the street."
"We see this as one of the most disturbing proposals to be made for a site in Belsize in years," said Averil Nottage, chairwoman of Belsize Residents' Association.
Gene Adams from the Belsize conservation area advisory committee said: "We are unhappy about the proposed demolition because the existing houses are of unusual architecture.
"They are of their period and are very discreet, almost invisible from the street rather than the houses they want to build there.
"We also hope they do not get rid of any of the trees there."
But Mr Hall has defended the plans and says he and his neighbour simply want to take advantage of an opportunity to develop their homes.
"We have done exactly what the council has asked us to do, which is to build two houses on a similar scale to the others on the road," he said.
"It's a huge plot too and we can make more use of it. It is just a case of making the best out of the opportunity. It is a big wasted space at the moment. We have gone to great trouble to produce a good design."
Mr Hall insists the houses will be built as two single homes rather and not separate flats as residents fear.