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Uncertain future for historic Northwood home earmaked for demolition
THE fate of a historic house in Northwood hangs in the balance after developers launched an appeal ahead of a decision on plans to demolish the property.
Members of Hillingdon Council's north planning committee met last night (16) to consider proposals to crush Oakhurst, a locally listed, Tudor-style home in Northgate, and replace it with a five-bedroom, two-storey detached home.
Although permission was previously granted to renovate and extend the property - which dates from the 1920s and is one of the first homes to be built on the Copsewood Estate Area of Special Local Character - the developers, Banner Homes, argue it is in a very poor state of repair, with a beetle infestation affecting the strength of the building.
However, an independent survey produced by the council revealed other viable alternatives to restore the building, while an ecological study found further consideration was needed of how the development would impact on local wildlife, including bats, badgers and reptiles.
Some 54 residents signed a petition 'objecting to the wanton destruction of Oakhurst', which was built by local craftsman, Frederick Tibbenham - who made aeroplane propellors for the First World War - and is adjacent to partner property, Tudor House.
Speaking on behalf of lead petitioner, Brian Fredericks, who was unable to attend the meeting, Lesley Crowcroft said: "The new building will be totally inappropriate for the Copsewood Estate.
"Banner Homes have shown scant concern for wildlife and have not given suitable justification to knock down this beautiful property.
"Oakhurst and Tudor House stand together and it will be a great loss to the area if the building is demolished."
Committee members also discussed a separate application from Banner Homes to build a second five-bedroom, two-storey home in the gardens of Oakhurst, which include mature oak and evergreen trees.
A additional petition with 45 signatures was submitted against the proposal.
But Councillor David Allam said this could mean the new building intended to replace Oakhurst could become unusable, unless several trees under preservation order were removed.
He added: "The developers have not done their job properly at all and they haven't given a full structural survey or taken into account biodiversity.
"If they want us to grant permission to demolish this property, which has a clear architectural and historical significance, they are going to have to do a much better job of convincing us it is the right thing to do."
The committee unanimously rejected the scheme, in spite of the appeal being lodged in advance.
Speaking after the meeting, petitioner Pandora Melly, who recently moved from Frithwood Avenue in Northwood to South Oxhey, said: "Oakhurst is a beautiful home and I truly love it. When it's gone there will be nothing like it. What's the matter with Banner Homes that they can't see that? Is this all a money making exercise?"
Spokesperson for Banner Homes, Piers Banfield, said: "Banner Homes decided to appeal because Hillingdon Council failed to determine the application within the required eight week period, despite much consultation and the huge amount of supporting information we provided.
"We have supplied all relevant ecological reports and information relating to the structural integrity of Oakhurst and strongly believe it does not warrant retention.
"We do appreciate the demolition of the house is controversial but the planning appeal system has been established to determine such applications and we await the outcome of the appeal."
What do you think? Email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
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