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The £2m council house in Highgate

PUBLISHED: 20:09 15 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 September 2010

Swain's Lodge

Swain's Lodge

A row has erupted over a lodge in Highgate which is thought to be the dearest council house in the country. The £2million Grade II-listed Victorian home (left) on the edge of Waterlow Park is being used to temporarily rehouse tenant Ruth Ben-Adir, 44. The

A row has erupted over a lodge in Highgate which is thought to be the dearest council house in the country.

The £2million Grade II-listed Victorian home (left) on the edge of Waterlow Park is being used to temporarily rehouse tenant Ruth Ben-Adir, 44.

The mother from Kentish Town, who moved into Swain's Lodge with her 22-year-old son while repairs are being carried out at her old home near Kentish Town baths, now lists Sting and George Michael among her new neighbours.

But critics, including Labour councillor and Highgate resident Roger Robinson, have accused the council of wasting taxpayers' money by using the property to house a single parent family.

"If this tenant would be caused stress by staying at her usual home then the council is right to rehouse her temporarily," he said. "But once she's moved out from the lodge I think they should sell the damned thing and use the money to buy something useful like more affordable homes."

Residents spoke to the Ham&High about the fiasco, many sympathetic to Ms Ben-Adir.

Television producer Jeffrey Morris, who lives in Lissenden Gardens, said he thought she had had a lucky break.

"What a wonderful opportunity for her to live in a single house in such a wonderful and historic place," he said. "It must be extremely stressful for anyone who has to move home in these circumstances.

"She's not going to be there forever. Sometimes council tenants don't get a great place and sometimes they do. I think we should focus on the positive side of the story."

Karen Parker, whose daughter is a pupil at St Joseph's School, said: "This lady's situation is the product of Camden's decision. She hasn't asked to be moved there. And now people are picking on her. She should just be allowed to get on with her life."

Pensioner Mary McMullen, whose daughter lives in Highgate, said the council had made a big mistake. "It's disgusting," she said. "Camden should never have let just one person live in such a big house with just one child.

"It should be turned into flats so that you can have more than one family living there."

A council spokeswoman said the lodge was not a council house and Ms Ben-Adir would move back to her old home once the repairs were completed.

"We own this property - we are not paying rent for it on the private market," she said. "We used the space for offices until recently."

Speaking through her letterbox, Ms Ben-Adir said she did not wish to comment.

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