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More than 1,000 sign petition against Heathside development

PUBLISHED: 11:14 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:08 07 September 2010

MORE than 1,000 Heath users have signed letters objecting to plans for a huge development on the edge of the green space. Developer Damien Kearsley sent his plans for the Water House on Mill Lane to Camden Council last month. He wants to demolish it and

MORE than 1,000 Heath users have signed letters objecting to plans for a huge development on the edge of the green space.

Developer Damien Kearsley sent his plans for the Water House on Mill Lane to Camden Council last month.

He wants to demolish it and replace it with a neo-classical Robert Adam-style pile, nearly three-times the size, complete with basement swimming pool and cinema.

Neighbours are furious about the size of the development and fear giant trucks will have to drive down Millfield Lane - a dirt track on the edge of Hampstead Heath.

Over the weekend one disgruntled neighbour Karen Beare collected 1,065 signed letters of objection from Heath users.

Ms Beare, who lives in Fitzroy Park, said: "At 3pm we had a huge queue and actually ran out of forms. There was incredible support from everybody. It was quite extraordinary seeing the upsurge of public feeling. People just read our poster and said, 'Give me a pen.'

"The bottom line is that we are not against development. This is about development on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Equally we are not against this house per se - it would be fine in The Bishops Avenue or Beverley Hills.

"We support appropriate development around the fringes of the Heath that is sensitive to the unique nature of the environment."

While Mr Kearsley has remained tight-lipped about the proposals, his business partner Paul Munford turned up to see what was going on over the weekend.

The developer blamed his architect for failing to consult residents about the plans.

The Heath and Hampstead Society, the Highgate Society and the Fitzroy Park Residents Association have joined in the opposition to the plans.

Ms Beare said: "The Heath is Metropolitan Open Land and there is a requirement for the openness of the Heath to be maintained. Its openness is harmed by such developments.

"The Ladies' Pond opposite will suffer an unacceptable loss of privacy - an intrinsic quality of the area.

"The construction process will cause safety and amenity issues along Millfield Lane, the junction with Fitzroy Park and Merton Lane."

Fitzroy Park residents have just successfully rebutted another developer's plans to make some 1,600 trips with a 24-tonne truck down Millfield Lane.

The City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, objected to those plans and is waiting to see the plans for the Water House.

A Corporation spokeswoman said: "We have asked to see copies of the plans and will make a detailed response to the application once we have received these.

"We have still not received them. We need to look at them and take them to our legal team."

marc.mullen@hamhigh.co.uk


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