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Branch Hill House: Developers plan 34 homes in historic ex-care home in Hampstead

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:52 27 February 2020

Branch Hill House in Hampstead. Picture: George Rex (CC by SA 2.0)

Branch Hill House in Hampstead. Picture: George Rex (CC by SA 2.0)

Archant

Plans to convert the historic Branch Hill House in Hampstead into 34 homes have been submitted by a developer.

After more than a year of discussion, and community anxiety when the building - which had operated as a care home - was sold off by Camden Council, plans were submitted shortly before Christmas by Almax, who were described by their PR firm as a "small residential developer" in 2018.

The plans would see the 1960s extension of the care home replaced with a new building.

A handful of objections have been so far submitted on Camden Council's planning portal, with one person arguing: "These entirely luxury developments, the kind which already exists around the area, do very little for the local neighbourhood."

Another added: "It looks overbearing and inconsiderate of the rather attractive original Edwardian building."

A further objection from Susan Witherow added: "Hampstead needs more affordable housing for key workers not high-end rentable flats."

But Janine Griffis, chair of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum told the Ham&High: "We considered that the proposal, by and large, adheres to the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan and respects the designated green space that surrounds Branch Hill."

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A spokesperson for the developers told this newspaper: "We have been working very hard to ensure that we consider the heritage of this sensitive site when presenting a design.

"We have compiled a thorough assessment of what remains of Branch Hill House, how we can best provide new homes, protect and enhance the biodiversity on the site and meet the aspirations of the local authority."

They added they were "very grateful" to local people for contributing to the design and would "continue to engage" with the council as to developing a "truly sustainable scheme".

The scheme is set to provide seven affordable homes for "intermediate rent" - less than market rates - if it gets the go-ahead. The provision of this, or otherwise, was a key sticking point for community groups when the building's sale was first sanctioned in summer 2018.

Last week Branch Hill House was included in Camden's draft Site Allocations Local Plan - with the town hall consulting on planning policy suggesting the site has capacity for 25 extra homes.

Comments can be made on the plans until February 29. The reference number is 2019/6354/P.

Correction: The Ham&High initially wrote that the affordable homes provided were to be off-site. We are happy to clarify this is not the case.


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