A charity which boasts that it is "passionate about old buildings" inflicted "irretrievable damage" on the Grade II listed Harrow Magistrates' Court, and is expected to lose its 10-month planning row with Harrow Council.
The Jaspar Foundation, based in Stanmore, was hoping to convert the former court house in Rosslyn Crescent, Wealdstone, into a day care centre and housing but was found to have made unauthorised alterations to the interior of the building, either removing or destroying historical features of the building.
In October last year, Harrow Council’s planning committee threw out a retrospective application from the charity after councillors were shocked when seeing the site for themselves which revealed that all fixtures and fittings in court room two were removed, relocated, substantially altered or destroyed.
On the charity's website, it claims: "We are passionate about old buildings; with a respect for their history and the skills and workmanship employed in their original construction."
The charity lodged a revised application in March , but the council's case officer Lucy Haile has now instructed councillors to once again refuse the fresh application ahead of Wednesday's planning meeting.
A statement issued by the Harrow Civic Residents' Association to Harrow Council in objection to the revised application said: "The Jaspar Foundation was well aware of the nature of the building it was taking on and the difficulties in changing its use were naturally reflected in the price paid for the premises. Yet it set about completely destroying and discarding original elements, irretrievably damaging the integrity of what was once a well-preserved example of a 1930s court.
"We would like the foundation to work together to negotiate an acceptable solution that ensures the building is restored but can also be used."
Neighbours of the old court house also came forward to object to the application.
Hilary Coombes, of Frognal Avenue, Harrow, said: "Other organisations will look to the Jaspar Centre and see that retrospective planning applications are an easier way to make alterations than having to conform to the rules and conventions laid down."
Brett Lake-Benson, of College Road, Harrow, said: "Retrospective planning permission on changes to listed buildings will embolden others to make a raft of unauthorised alterations to listed buildings on the off-chance that they will either completely get away with it and knowing that, at worst, they will only have to reverse some of them."
The Jasper Foundation is part of the Jaspar Group, a family-based company of property developers.
In a statement to Harrow Council, the charity said: "Ultimately, the Jaspar Centre has been designed to provide a safe-haven for vulnerable members of the community.
"During a period where there is a chronic under supply of community facilities (including the closure of the Civic Centre library in 2013, which was opposite the current Jaspar Centre), the operation of a new self-funded charitable organisation for the local community should be supported by the council."