A crucial plot of land in overlooking Hampstead Heath is to go to appeal this week to determine if the historic Athlone House will be demolished or not. Built in the 1870’s the building was built by a chemicals magnate and later became a nursing home. However plans are underway to turn the building into a rather bold palace which would tower over the landscape. It has been reported that the current owner is Nasser al-Kharafi, thought to be a Kuwaiti billionaire.

The reason for the outrage in regards to the proposal is that the local people feel that the developer has gone against his promise of restoring Athlone House to its former glory. Lots of objections have been put forward to the scheme which would see Athlone House flattened and a £100 million eight bedroom mansions erected. The mansion would boast of underground parking and staff quarters.

The historic home has had planning granted in the last six years. In 2004 Camden council consented to 27 luxury flats being built on the site. The objections are not to any development there but to the ostentatious design of the new pile and the demolishing of a much loved historic building.

The architect behind the scheme, the renowned Robert Adam, believes that many of the objectors have been misinformed. He explained that the replacement house would be about the same height as Athlone House and about the same footprint too.

However Camden council has been inundated with no less than 15 separate planning applications in regards to Athlone House in the last 4 years. Many of these applications have offered something to the council in order to allow the application sail through, commonly known as a section 106 agreement. Athlone has received 540 objections from residents across North London but when up against people with access to such huge amounts of money it is not known whether the objections will have much sway. After all the saying money talks if often true. People objecting to the scheme feel that the plans do not have to be so grand and for the height of any development there to remain as it is, below the tree line.
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Miss Fiona Davies is Sales Director for http://www.buildingplotsforsale.org
She has worked in the property and land sector for the last ten years.
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