Campaigner claims Brent Council is breaking agreement if they bulldoze Dollis Hill mansion

Town hall have been given the green light to knock down Grade II listed building

A trustee who has campaigned to restore a historic mansion in Gladstone Park claims Brent Council is breaking a longstanding agreement if it knocks the house down.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, gave Brent Council the go-ahead to demolish derelict Dollis Hill House – a Grade II listed building.

But Patricia French, of Crest Road, Dollis Hill, says the council will be breaking a conveyance agreed on February 19, 1900, if the house is knocked down.

Mrs French, a former history teacher, said: “A number of residents have got copies of this document dated February 19, 1900 and we do believe it still stands.

“It means that any successor has to take responsibility of the house and any upkeep of Dollis Hill House. The park will be ruined if the house goes.

“We do not want it ruined. The house should be preserved.”

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The document reads: “To hold all the said hereditaments and premises hereby assured unto and to the use of the said Willesden Urban District Council their successors and assignees in fee simple for the perpetual use thereof by the public.”

The Regency villa once housed guests including the 19th Century Prime Minister William Gladstone and American author Mark Twain. But since 1994 it has stood empty and been attacked by arsonists four times.

Plans to transform the mansion into a tea-room and restaurant were scrapped and the campaigners were dealt another blow when the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced he would not pledge any money to saving the building.

The council has said in the past that it has no other option but to have it demolished because it costs �20,000 a year to maintain – even in its derelict state.

But when the Times contacted the council about the conveyance it said it was unavailable to comment by the time we press.