Calls reignited to save derelict Stoke Newington mansion
PUBLISHED: 23:12 04 February 2013 | UPDATED: 23:12 04 February 2013
Conservation campaigners have reignited calls for the compulsory repurchase of a much-loved and historic mansion house which has now been left derelict for more than 11 years.
The Stoke Newington Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC) has urged Hackney Council to take action over St Mary’s Lodge in Stoke Newington after four years of wrangling between the council and two different owners failed to secure a new use for the site.
It is understood a new planning bid is about to be submitted by current owners Keren Habinyan Ltd following the refusal of their plans to turn it into a nursery school and flats last year.
But campaigners fear any further lapse in time will result in the 13-room lodge in Lordship Road falling beyond restoration altogether.
The lodge was sold by a local philanthropist family to the council in 1959, well below the property’s market value on the condition it was used for educational or charitable purposes.
It was run as a hostel for unwed mothers until the mid-90s, when squatters moved in and it fell derelict.
The building was sold to trustees of the Torah Etz Chaim synagogue next door at a knock-down price of £705,000 in 2002 – on the condition it was used for education and community use.
Since then the lodge has become more derelict, surviving demolition in 2004, only when elected Mayor Jules Pipe promised the council would do everything legally possible to protect the building.
But the lodge’s decay continued, and it was gutted by fire in 2005, used as a dumping ground for tyres in 2008 and then in 2009 a whole section of wall – comprising Victorian bricks – was removed in broad daylight.
It has since been bought by Keren Habinyan Ltd, a company operating on behalf of the local Vishnitz-sect Hasidic community, for £875,000 but it has been unsuccessful in securing planning permission.
A letter signed by 34 local residents last week called for compulsory purchase said: “The owners have had every chance to use the building for the covenanted purpose.If left in their hands it will eventually collapse.”
A council spokesperson said officers met with developers on January 14 and are expecting to receive a planning application shortly.
“In the meantime we are continuing to monitor the condition of the property,” he added.
The Gazette was unable to contact Keren Habinyan.
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