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.
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