Town centre regeneration plans that include a 14-storey high block of flats have been dismissed as ‘inappropriate, bleak and impersonal’.
Harrow Council’s planning committee is expected to approve the demolition of Equitable House and Lyon House, in Lyon Road, Harrow, to make away for nearly 300 flats and commercial space.
The proposal sparked objections from Campaign For A Better Harrow Environment, Harrow Friends of the Arts and Harrow Architects Forum, in addition to concerned neighbours like Dr Alfred Layton, of Northwick Park Road, Harrow.
Mr Layton said: “This is yet another proposal that threatens to overwhelm the appearance and character of central Harrow, creating a bleak, impersonal environment.
“If planning control is to have any concern for the environment of residents, as opposed to a pointless rubber-stamping exercise, then developments of this height cannot be accepted.”
Charlotte Vine, of Gayton Road, said: “The site should be developed, there’s no doubt at all, but I’m very against the height. I do not believe it should be anything more than a maximum of four or five storeys.
“The council has already given permission for the Gayton Road site, which is 10 storeys, so this little island of flats is going to be squashed between the two developments.”
Seven buildings, from a one-storey lodge to a 14-storey tower, would house 238 private and 49 affordable flats, 3,000sq metres of offices, shops and restaurants, a health centre, a basement car park and a piazza.
Planning officer Andrew Ryley reported: “The development would be of a high quality design that would respect and complement the surrounding area, and create a new landmark within the town.
“The impact upon surrounding properties has been considered within the design and the development balances the impact on amenities of the surrounding uses with the wider economic and development plan objectives for the borough.”
Both Lyon House, which housed branches of the Land Registry, the Valuation Office Agency and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and Equitable House, which was entirely let to a subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust, have stood empty since June 2010. The council’s planning committee were due to make a decision yesterday (Wednesday).