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Suburb tea house under threat

PUBLISHED: 16:03 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 September 2010

Chris Kellerman outside The Tea Rooms, North Way, HGS
Pics: Jonathan Goldberg

Chris Kellerman outside The Tea Rooms, North Way, HGS Pics: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

HOPES of preserving the original feel of Hampstead Garden Suburb have taken another blow - with the sale of the historic Tea House to a private investor. The house on Northway used to serve up creamed scones and Earl Grey tea before being converted into a

HOPES of preserving the original feel of Hampstead Garden Suburb have taken another blow - with the sale of the historic Tea House to a private investor.

The house on Northway used to serve up creamed scones and Earl Grey tea before being converted into an education centre by the Hampstead Garden Suburb Institute.

Now the cash-strapped institute has sold the listed building in a private sale, without consulting any suburb bodies.

The residents' association and other concerned parties have spoken out against the move, which they say will put paid to the dream of bringing the building back to community use.

"This is a stitch-up," said resident Chris Kellerman. "The guy who bought it will want to make it into a private house. The issue is why it wasn't put on to the market.

"We could have organised fundraising for it to be kept in the community but this has all happened behind closed doors. At least they could have given everyone an opportunity."

At the moment, the uses permitted under the lease are for catering or education, but according the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust these could be set to change.

Jane Blackburn, the trust manager, said: "The uses permitted under the lease may be difficult to sustain."

The house, which was designed by Soutar in 1919 and is Grade II-listed, was sold to LSG Capital Projects for £750,000.

David Lewis, chairman of the Hampstead Garden Suburb residents association, said: "It's a pretty poor show. The people in the suburb could have clubbed together and bought it to offer up to the suburb.

"It's a shame the institute didn't offer it up to a Suburb organisation. We could have lodged an appeal. One idea was to put in a suburb museum. "We thought the Henrietta Barnett School might buy it and they could have allowed it to be used for the community.

"Residents would like it to be a community building. Usually these things are given to an agent. I'm sure the institute know that we would like it be restored to the community - it seems extraordinary that they should sell privately like this."

Institute principal Joy Solomon said: "Like with any private sale, we can't control what a purchaser does. I have no particular interest as to the plans of the purchaser.

"We have a responsibility to our users to keep funds up.

"We have use of it for this year. Because of the conservation area there is not much that can be done with it other than the allocated uses - we don't have any worries because he knows what he can and can't do.

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