Friends of Millfield Lane
Friends of Millfield Lane
The Friends of Millfield Lane
The Friends of Millfield Lane

Past Campaigns - The Water House


Between 2011 and 2017, local community groups united as the Friends of Millfield Lane over a protracted period to oppose a planning application in respect of the Water House.  This property faces Millfield Lane, directly opposite the main entrance to Kenwood Ladies’ Pond.  The owner of the property at the time wanted to demolish the existing house in order to replace it with a much larger property to incorporate a double basement. 


Work was projected to take at least two years, with the only vehicle access being available via the unmade section of Millfield Lane (nearly 900 HGV movements proposed on a lane too narrow for this purpose).  There was a complete lack of consideration for the impact on the walkers, runners, cyclists and dogs using Millfield Lane daily, let alone less able users.  Amongst other evidence used in objection to the planning application, video footage was obtained of an attempt to bring an HGV along the lane and turn it for the return journey.


Key points raised in objection to the planning application included:


  • doubling the size, bulk and presence of the existing house from 5,500 ft2 to 11,000 ft2;
  • an increase in footprint of a factor of 2.3 from 14.7% to circa 34% of the site;
  • an incomplete Basement Impact Assessment;
  • two basements across the entire width of the site that would cause serious hydrology impacts and possible contamination of the Bird Sanctuary Pond;
  • demolition of a house of architectural significance, designed by the late Richard Paxton, that commanded a six-figure sum on the rental market at the time of the application;
  • excessive impacts on ecology and trees, including the removal of low branches from an unquantified number of trees along Millfield Lane (to allow access for HGVs) permanently changing the character of lane;
  • proposals to use Millfield Lane for many hundreds of HGV and LGV movements that would put the personal safety of pedestrians, cyclists and joggers at considerable risk and cause untold environmental harm.


In October 2015, the Friends of Millfield Lane launched an online petition via 38 Degrees to object to the planning application.  This eventually achieved over 4,000 signatures which were considered as individual objections to the planning application.  On 7 April 2016 Camden Council rejected the planning application but, just within deadline, the owner submitted an appeal to the national Planning Inspectorate.  In 2017, as the appeal was in progress, the Water House was sold and the appeal withdrawn. THE COMMUNITY WON!


The new owners of the Water House have undertaken work at this property of a more modest and sympathetic nature, taking pains to avoid the use of HGVs in Millfield Lane.  Much of the work is aimed at improving disability related access and the original house has not been demolished.  While this ongoing construction project has not been without issues, the new owners have adopted a much more proactive and productive approach to consulting with community groups than the previous owner.


This case demonstrates that community action works.  We are emphatically not NIMBYs, we simply seek to protect this area from overdevelopment.  It is possible for appropriate and sympathetic renovations and developments to take place so long as the sensitivity of the surrounding environment is respected.


Camden New Journal 25 July 2019 - Heath Swimmers' Homes Protest
Further coverage in Camden New Journal highlighting environmental impact near borders of Hampstead Heath and risk of permanent increase in traffic in Millfield Lane if 5 house development allowed to go ahead.
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Camden New Journal 7 Mar 2019 - fears for Heath
Camden New Journal article 7 March 2019 "Homes Scheme - fear for Heath"
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31 July 2019 Petition has surpassed 4,500 and continues to grow.  Latest Camden New Joural article now on line here.


27 July 2019 Petition stands at 4,417, help us to get it to 5000!


July 2019 Renewed objections from Kenwood Ladies' Pond Association, Heath & Hampstead Society, Fitzroy Park Residents' Association, City of London and Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee uploaded to Camden Council planning portal.


7 June 2019 Further documents from applicants uploaded on council website, fail to address concerns about environmental impacts and permanent increase to traffic in Millfield Lane.


20 March 2019 Now have 4000 signatures.  Objections still being sent to Camden Council, you can see them here.


7 March 2019 Great coverage in the local press today, Camden New Journal (above) and Ham & High


5 March 2019 3000 signatures in just over a week.


1 March 2019 Surpassed 2000 signatures on St David's Day!  Support keeps coming in.


27 February 2019 We made 1000 signatures in little more than one day, petition still growing


25 February 2019 Online Petition launched and already growing!



PS:  if you live in the London Borough of Camden, please contact your local Councillor to tell them how you feel about this development too.  Quote planning reference for 55 Fitzroy Park - 2018/3672/P. Contact


Did you know they have the final say by voting on the proposals at the council's Development Control Committee meeting?  Highgate Ward Councillors may also address the planning meeting in respect of this application.

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