Athlone House should not be turned into £80m palace, judge rules

Athlone House, taken in 2011. Picture: Michael Hammerson

Athlone House, taken in 2011. Picture: Michael Hammerson - Credit: Archant

Historic Athlone House in Highgate should not be demolished and turned into an £80million eight-bedroom palace, a High Court judge has ruled.

Justice Ian Dove today threw out an appeal by developer Athlone House Limited (AHL).

Camden Council had previously rejected plans to knock down the former hospital and RAF base to turn it into a luxuary home with an underground car park and swimming pool.

Developers had taken the case to the High Court after a government-appointed planning inspector dismissed an appeal against the refusal.

The judge said the planning inspector was right in saying that if the house was re-built and extended, it could not be bigger than the current size of the house.

The mysterious owner had tried to argue that the house could be the same size as the house previously was, when it had previously had an extension.

But Justice Dove ruled that a demolition would mean a lack of opportunity to restore the building to its former historic use as a dwelling.

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He noted the building’s significance as a non-designated heritage building.

Michael Hammerson, vice president of the Highgate Society and co-ordinator of Athlone House Working Group, said: “This is a historic moment and the culmination of the justification of the community’s 17 year fight.”

“It’s the best 50th anniversary present the Highgate Society could have been given.”