No sooner has the supermodel Kate Moss moved into her new London home than plans are unveiled — to the horror of her neighbours — to build a five-storey block of flats on the exclusive street.
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Moss, 38, and her rocker husband Jamie Hince, 43, guitarist with The Kills, spent a reported £7.95 million on their seven-bedroom home in Highgate.
Neighbours include actor Jude Law and the new development will be within a few feet of his £8 million home. Camden council is this week due to approve the plans, which will provide four new homes topped by a roof terrace. The development will replace a smaller, three-storey block, and the homes will be aimed at top-end buyers. Facilities will include gyms, cinemas and wine cellars for some of the properties.
The project will inevitably cause noise and disturbance to residents, and has provoked a storm of objections. The Hampstead Conservation Area Committee believes the new neo-Georgian style building is “much too bulky” for the site and will appear “overbearing”. It is also concerned that residents using the new roof terrace will be able to peer into neighbours gardens.
The Highgate Society also objects. “People always think that groups like ours are against modern buildings but in fact what we want here is a 21st century building and not this sort of pastiche which degrades the historical integrity of the area,” said Michael Hammerson, a vice president of the group.
“The Grove is possibly one of London’s most important residential streets, with a whole terrace of early 18th century buildings.” The society is also concerned that bedrooms in the basement of the new building will be completely subterranean without proper windows, and raises fear that the excavation could lead to flooding.
However Camden Council officers are recommending the scheme be approved. They claim the new block, which will take around a year to build, is no larger than the neighbouring properties and is “acceptable”.
Miss Moss did not exercise her statutory right to appeal against the project – perhaps because she has only just finished her own building project, including adding a steam room and kitchen at ground floor level, installing a free standing bath on a plinth and dotting the building with CCTV cameras.