'Exemplary' or 'egocentric'? Green Hampstead home given go-ahead

What 18A Frognal Gardens looks like now (left) - and what it will become (right)

What 18A Frognal Gardens looks like now (left) - and what it will become (right) - Credit: Polly Hancock/Alison Brooks Architects

Camden Council has signed off the redevelopment of a Hampstead home despite furore over its green “egocentric” façade. 

Playwright Sir David Hare and his wife Nicole Farhi, a sculptor, were among around 50 opponents against the scheme at 18A Frognal Gardens.  

The nearby couple called the design a “big elephant’s backside with namby-pamby balconies which belong on a Tyrolean fairground ride”.  

But on Thursday (July 1) the town hall’s planning committee approved, with a majority vote, for the existing property to be demolished and replaced with a four-storey, four-bedroom home.  

The green design split opinion in the chamber, with proponents tracing the tiles’ use back to medieval times – but its opponents were less convinced. 

Sir David Hare and Nicole Farhi, pictured in 2016

Sir David Hare and Nicole Farhi opposed the scheme - Credit: PA

David Castle, for the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, and the Heath and Hampstead Society, said the green tiles were an “arbitrary choice" – and that the development would “dwarf” nearby buildings.  

“We object to the unneighbourly egocentric façade which seems to be designed to attract attention and also to deliberately be different in every way from the surrounding buildings, totally contradicting the rich architectural fabric of the conservation area,” he said.  


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Speaking for objectors from Frognal Gardens, Mary Power said it was the “wrong design in the wrong place”.  

While conceding the proposal was “different”, Camden planning manager Richard Limbrick called the choice of green a “natural” tone.

The architect's design of 18A Frognal Gardens in Hampstead

The architect's design of 18A Frognal Gardens in Hampstead - Credit: Alison Brooks Architects

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Citing reported benefits to landscape, biodiversity, sustainability and energy, Mr Limbrick said the “high-quality” family home would enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.  

In other support for the plans, Roger Bowdler, from Montagu Evans, said there would be no “material impact” on daylight or sunlight to any neighbouring property.  

“Our client’s brief was for a lifetime home that joyfully contributes to Hampstead’s character and is exemplary in sustainability,” architect Alison Brook said.  

“This house will be exemplary in terms of its thermal performance and CO2 emissions but crucially it’s been conceived to form a part of Hampstead's landscape so that it enhances its local ecology.  

“It offers a new dialogue with history and will sustain the conservation area character that we all know and love.”

The existing home is valued at £3.72m 

How 18A Frognal Gardens looks currently - Credit: Polly Hancock

The redeveloped home, involving basement excavation, will see a music room and a plunge pool installed.  

The estimated value of the current property is around £3.72 million, according to property website Zoopla.

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