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Plans to demolish the service wing of London’s largest private home have been rejected by councillors.

News that councillors in Camden have rejected plans to demolish the service wing of Witanhurst house in Highgate has been welcomed by the Victorian Society.

The Society was one of the strongest opponents of the demolition element of plans for this historic house. 'The whole house is listed at Grade II*, and that includes the service wing,' said Kristian Kaminski, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'We are delighted by Camden's decision; the service wing was part of the architect's original design for the house. It is certainly not beyond repair and the starting point for renovating Witanhurst should be to adapt and restore the wing as part of plans for the whole site.'

The proposals put forward by the architect Robert Adam also included remodelling the front façade, building a new Orangery and digging out a vast basement with parking for 24 cars, a cinema and a swimming pool.

The plans had been recommended for approval by the borough's own planning officers and had the backing of English Heritage. But the Victorian Society argued that there was not convincing evidence for the need to demolish the wing, and without such evidence its removal would go against government planning policy.

Last week the Development Control Committee ruled against the proposals with councillors said to be concerned that demolishing the service wing would damage a Grade II*-listed building.

Other issues were the number of extra bedrooms proposed and the amount of construction traffic that would be required to dig out the basement.

Thursday 10 December, 2009

More recent item: Concern over plans to demolish two historic schools in north London
Earlier item: Council must act now to save listed gas works from the elements

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