Historian launches campaign to save 12th century history site

Owners of chapel want to use site to build family home

�A local historian is leading the charge to save a building on a 12th century religious site which was once a place for medieval preaching.

Ebenezer Chapel in �Kilburn Vale, Kilburn, stands on one of the area’s oldest religious sites but is facing a battle for survival after a private developer put in plans to Camden Council to have it demolished and �rebuilt.

The new owners want to tear down the 19th century building, a spot for religious preaching since 1120, and �replace it with a modern three-story family home.

But history buff Ed �Fordham has lodged a complaint with the council and called upon the owners to �revise the plans.

He said: “The proposal to demolish this building in full has to be one of the most �disappointing applications lacking any imagination, �appreciation or understanding of the significance of the building, the location or the heritage.

“There is no objection to the development of this site – indeed it is to be welcomed – but this application is very weak and lacks understanding of the site.”

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The historian has also called on the council to do a ‘‘proper analysis” on the site because he says plans for a basement, yards from the former River Pond on �Kilburn High Road, poses a flood risk. Mr Fordham said: “Virtually all of the supporting documents are desk based assessments and very out of date.

“The historical and �archaeological assessment is wrong, the geological assessment false and the documents flawed.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The supporting documents provided by the applicant in relation to archaeology, hydrology and flooding will be scrutinised by �English Heritage’s archaeological service and the council.

“The council has recently adopted policies which deal specifically with subterranean development and make it clear that basement development will only be permitted where it has been fully demonstrated that there is no harm to the built and natural environment, local amenity and does not result in flooding or ground instability.”

Speaking on behalf of the buildings owners, planning consultant Tracey Rust said: “The objections are a matter for the council to consider and not a question for the owners.

“If the chapel had an architectural or historical significance then the council would have made it a listed building.”