Exclusive: Mystery Russian owners of Witanhurst mansion get go-ahead for contentious development
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a large scale revamp of Witanhurst mansion in Highgate have been given the green light by government planning chiefs. Whitehall planning inspector Philip Wilson informed the Ham&High today he had upheld the appeals by developers wh
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a large scale revamp of Witanhurst mansion in Highgate have been given the green light by government planning chiefs.
Whitehall planning inspector Philip Wilson informed the Ham&High today he had upheld the appeals by developers which had been heard ay a public inquiry back in May.
The news is a blow to conservationists including the Highgate Society and residents living around Witanhurst, who had fiercely objected to the proposals by Safran Holdings Ltd.
Acting on behalf of a mystery Russian owner Safran want to demolish the historic service wing of Witanhurst and replace it with an 'Orangery' complete with a two-storey underground entertainment centre complete with cinema and swimming pool.
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Explaining his decision to overturn Camden Council's initial rejection of the plans Mr Wilson said the benefits from the proposed development to the Grade II* Listed home outweigh the potential harm.
He said: "The service wing makes in my opinion, a very limited contribution to the significance of Witanhurst as a building of special architectural and historic interest. It sits in a rather uncomfortable relationship against the main building.
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He added: "I believe the replacement of the service wing by a less bulky element would, to advantage, give greater emphasis to the central block of accommodation."
Updates to follow