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Now owners of dome swimming pool want to knock down house

Proposal to move pool at Boncara was rejected last year

13 March, 2020

THE owners of a £5.7million Hampstead mansion who were told they could not move their Grade II-listed domed swimming pool want to knock down their house instead.

The 1968 pool, designed by architect James Gowan, will be kept under new plans for Boncara, a property in Templewood Avenue, but converted into a “formal” dining room and conservatory.

The adjoining shower room will be turned into a wine vault. Owner Bryan Coyne has also asked Camden Council for planning permission to flatten his home and build a replacement. I

n designs by Lyndon Goode Architects, published online by council planners this week, the owner admits his bid last year to relocate the 30ft-wide sunken pool was “challenging”. Now he says that a new four-storey home, including a basement, will incorporate the building into its design and will positively contribute to the Redington Frognal Conservation Area.

A new swimming pool would be built below ground. The existing pool originally formed part of the neighbouring home of CS Schreiber, a Hampstead furniture maker.

In September last year council officers said the proposal to move the pool would “cause substantial harm to the significance of the swimming pool and Schreiber House”.


Historic England said the building was Mr Gowan’s most significant work, and that he was one of the first architects in the 1960s to use parts of Dutch modernism in his design. The link between the house and the pool was removed  when Boncara was built in 1994, and they were both listed four years later.

The applicant’s architects say the pool is now showing signs of poor repair, including structural problems in its concrete which mean it cannot be filled with water. Lyndon Goode’s designs state that, if approved, they could “incorporate this forgotten but striking dome structure … allowing for a truly one-off unique home to be created”.

The current owners of Schreiber House, Simon and Virginia Kirsch, objected to the plans last year, calling on the council to protect “the architectural heritage of the nation”.

Ms Kirsch, who has lived there with her husband and children for 18 years, said this week they would object again, adding: “I feel like we’re the guardians of the pool because of the link to our house. We’ve had James Gowan here – he’d turn in his grave if he thought it was going to be moved. We are fairly reasonable. If it was just about the house, then I wouldn’t have had such a problem.”

“The house is quite ugly, so we can understand him wanting to put something nicer there. But he shouldn’t be touching that pool. Why he thinks filling it in is going to be so much nicer than the pool, I don’t know.”

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