Residents fighting plans to 'mutilate' former homes of George Orwell and A.A. Milne in Kilburn
PUBLISHED: 11:21 20 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:21 20 August 2015
Residents of an iconic housing estate in Kilburn which was home to authors George Orwell and A.A. Milne are being charged thousands of pounds for work they claim will "mutilate" its historic character.
More than 40 leaseholders on the Mortimer Estate who oppose the plans for cladding to the front of their homes have launched a bid to prevent it happening by launching a bid to have the buildings listed with English Heritage.
Under the proposals by Camden Council, the estate’s brick work will be covered with white render cladding as part of a plan to reduce fuel bills.
The leaseholders face a bill of between £5,500 and £9,700 each to fund the work.
Doug Radcliffe MBE, 91, a Second World War veteran who has lived in Remsted House block for more than 30 years, said: “It’s terrible. Somebody will graffiti it just like they defaced the war memorial in Green Park.
“It’s a lot of money and you have to afford it- there’s no option being given here. It’s a beautiful house anyway, how dare they spend our money on this?
“This estate is already perfect- why would you alter that perfection?”
The blocks were built between 1951-54 by eminent post-war architect Sir Robert Mathew OBE who designed the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.
The estate features plaques marking the site of Henley House where Winnie the Pooh writer A.A. Milne was born and the spot where Mr Orwell is said to have crawled back into his bomb-wrecked flat to retrieve the manuscript of 1984.
Ed Fordham, who runs the Historic Kilburn scheme, said: “This is one of the most historically and architecturally important estates in London.
“If you are going to make any changes to a charming estate like that it’s better to do it with the residents them rather than instead of their wishes.”
Campaigners say the cladding, which would cost in the region of £171,000 for each of the estate’s seven housing blocks and would take around six weeks to install with scaffolding may even depreciate the value of their homes.
Greg Radcliffe, 56, who has lived in the flat above his father Doug for 20 years said: “I can put other necessary costs on the mortgage because they’re improvements, but this is going to ruin the look of the building and could cause problems of condensation and humidity.”
Campaigners are urging fellow residents in the 165-property estate to register their objections to the plans on Camden Council’s planning website before August 25.
Cllr Patricia Callaghan, Camden Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Camden Council is committed to improving the energy efficiency of its housing stock both to reduce its carbon emissions and to help residents manage their heating bills.
“The heat-efficient cladding will make a significant contribution to achieving these targets.
“All observations received during consultation will be carefully considered both as part of the planning consideration and as part of residents’ consultation and will help shape the final outcome.”