A PLANNING inspector will weigh up the evidence from a public inquiry to decide whether three residential tower blocks can be built in Harrow.
The controversial redevelopment in College Road - on the site of the ex-Post Office - would provide 410 flats and ground floor retail space, as well as an underground car park and a footbridge linking College Road to what would have been the new Harrow College campus in Lowlands Road.
Four days' of evidence was heard at Harrow Civic Centre in Station Road, Harrow, last week from both the authority and the company as well as councillors, Parliamentarians, amenity groups, campaigners and local residents.
Councillor Marilyn Ashton (Conservative), chairwoman of the planning committee that turned down Dandara's application, said afterwards: "We considered both the Local and Spatial Development Plans, conducted an extensive site visit, and came to a unanimous decision.
"The mass, scale and bulk of the proposed development would cause irreparable harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area, and would be detrimental to the long views of Harrow on the Hill and the Harrow Weald Ridge.
"We have made a robust case against this development, and we hope that the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will dismiss the developer’s appeal."
Dandara argued that the council's own planning officers along with those of the Greater London Authority and the council's independent advisers "concluded the proposals would not have a detrimental impact on the long views of Harrow on the Hill and that they are of a scale and design that would be entirely sympathetic to Harrow's skyline and, open and frame views of St Mary's spire from Harrow town centre".
The firm's lawyers said the committee had not given sufficient weight to local and national planning policies in reaching its decision and that the plans did actually meet the requirements of both the London plan and Harrow's own planning blueprint.
Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas (Labour) told the Observer: "I highlighted the fact that the height, scale and mass of the development was completely wrong and the fact it would block out the views of Harrow on the Hill and St Mary's Church, and that it would undoubtedly have an impact on the conservation area on the Hill."
Planning inspector John Gray will aim to decide within eight weeks whether to uphold Dandara's appeal and overturn the council's refusal of planning permission.