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Fight begins to save historic Highgate landmarks Lauderdale House and Athlone House

PUBLISHED: 11:43 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 11:43 20 July 2012

Lauderdale House in Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Lauderdale House in Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Pic by Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd London NW3 7QX 020 7794 3008 e.mail n.sutton@btinternet.com

The fight to save two of Highgate's architectural gems has been launched as the community rallies to secure the future of Lauderdale House and Athlone House.

The team at Lauderdale House has warned the much-loved Elizabethan stately home is at a critical juncture in its history as an ambitious fundraising campaign to find £500,000 by October has been launched to secure its future.

The announcement comes as wealthy foreign developers have launched a fresh bid to demolish Athlone House, on the edge of Hampstead Heath, in the latest twist in a decade-long drama over the future of the historic house.

Gordon Maclean, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society’s planning committee, which has previously campaigned to save Athlone House, said: “It is a David versus Goliath battle but we are hopeful we will be able to tackle any poor development.

“We beat them last time, let’s hope we can beat them again.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Hare, who represents Highgate on Haringey Council, said councillors on both sides of the Highgate border would rally to protect both landmarks.

“It is so important for residents to show their support to these historic houses that are so valuable to the community,” he said.

“I will endeavour to make sure Haringey plays its part in the fight.”

A controversial £80million project to bulldoze Athlone House and replace it with a faux classical mansion was rejected by the planning inspector last year.

But developers Athlone House Ltd have today (Thursday, July 19) unveiled fresh, albeit smaller, plans to demolish the Victorian villa and build a state-of-the-art mansion in its wake.

Meanwhile, the charity which runs Lauderdale House has warned that its future hinges on a multi-million pound fundraising campaign to transform run-down parts of the house with an architect designed glass extension.

Staff are hoping to raise £500,000 from the public over the next three months, as part of the project that will ensure it can continue to run its cultural events and education programmes attended by 400 school children every year.

Urging people to back the campaign, Labour councillor Sally Gimson, who represents Highgate on Camden Council, said: “It is the huge jewel in the crown of Highgate and Camden and we need to make sure it is preserved for the future.”

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