CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

‘Elephant’s backside’ attack on plan for modernist home

SIr David Hare and Nicole Farhi object to new green house in Hampstead

21 April, 2021 — By Dan Carrier

How the new house will look, if planning permission is granted

AS one of the country’s leading playwrights, it is fair to say that Sir David Hare has a way with words.

And it certainly showed when the writer of hit BBC drama Roadkill and his wife, fashion designer and sculptor Nicola Farhi, came to detail their objections to a new modernist house planned for a leafy road in Hampstead.

In a letter filed at the Town Hall, the couple said: “We are both enthusiastic admirers of modern architecture, particularly in NW3 where the mix of the old and the new is very rich.“But this proposed development is hideous – a big elephant’s backside with nampy-pampy balconies which belong on a Tyrolean fairground ride.”

The prosposal is for a new house in Frognal, and the designs by architect Alison Brooks have caught the eye not least because of the green cladding. Councillors must decide next month whether to grant building consent to Roger Pilgrim and Nadine Majaro who want to demolish the 1960s building on the site and bring the four-bedroom home to life.

Sir David Hare

Both have backgrounds in the finance industry and are trustees of The Progress Foundation, a grant-giving charity which has helped fund The Winch community centre in Swiss Cottage.

The New Journal revealed in January how concerns had already been raised by conservation groups who say it will be out of place.

Sir David and Ms Farhi, who live nearby, added: “The whole design, out of proportion to the rest of the street and violently obtrusive to anyone who has to live near it, is an unholy mix of the gargantuan and the twee – and has absolutely nothing to do with design principles of the surrounding streets. It looks like it’s been blown up with a bicycle pump.”

Other objections from neighbours said a planned swimming pool in a newly dug basement would damage nearby homes; balconies would overlook neighbours; and that the facade would reflect light into others houses.

The Heath and Hampstead Society, the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum and The Church Row Society have all also objected. But council planning officials have recommended the scheme is approved.

In the application, Ms Brooks said the area was known for “architectural innovation” and that an “unremarkable” building was being replaced.

The new home would be “a joyful, accessible, landscape-focused home that responds inventively to the character and architectural diversity of Hampstead,” the proposal added.

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