Reports reveal pigeons and vermin plague Highgate mansion Athlone House

Campaigners fighting to save Athlone House say council reports made public this week reveal that developers left the historic mansion to rot to justify demolition.

Camden Council officers have found pigeon and vermin infestations, dry rot and damp plaguing the Highgate mansion over seven visits since 2008.

The Athlone House Working Group has accused developers of wilfully defying rules that require them to maintain the property.

Michael Hammerson, vice-present of the Highgate Society, said: “It’s unbelievable. This shouldn’t have happened.

“It’s very clear that the house is not being maintained as is required by the Section 106 agreement.

“We want Camden Council to take enforcement action now.”

Plans to knock down Athlone House and rebuild it as an opulent eight-bedroom home were refused in July after more than 5,000 people objected to the proposals.

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Developers Athlone House Limited hope to overturn the decision at a planning appeal in February.

Under National Planning Policy Framework guidance, allowing a “heritage asset” to fall into decay is not a reason for demolition on the grounds of restoration cost.

Athlone House Limited declined to comment.

Last week, campaigners won more time to make their objections known ahead of the planning appeal, after an administrative error left them with only weeks to make their submissions.

The news came as a relief to the Highgate Society, which was worried their resources would be stretched ahead of another legal battle on September 30, over plans to build luxury homes on Highgate Bowl.

The appeal will take place at 10am at Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green.