A BLOCK of flats that developers began to build in the wrong place will be allowed to continue, after Hillingdon Council gave its approval.
Councillors at last night's (Tuesday) north planning committee were told that any legal challenge against the scheme, approved in 2007 with incorrect drawings, was likely to fail.
Residents in Kent Gardens, Eastcote, are severely overlooked by the two-storey mews buildings and demanded they be demolished because of the error, made by the council's own architects before the site behind the Grade II listed Highgrove House was sold to Westcombe Housing Group for residential development.
One local resident, Andrew Lakin, told the meeting: "If the council can give retrospective approval to correct a technical error in the developer's plan, then surely the can make a retrospective decision to disallow the original planning permission? It seems that, yet again, technicalities get in the way of common sense."
But the appeal was rebuffed and the committee was told to approve a revised version of the scheme, which sited the building 1.4 metres further from away from Kent Gardens to correct the error.
However, in the original faulty plans approved in 2007 and renewed in 2010, the mews flats were shown 8.4m from homes in Kent Gardens, instead of the 6.15m they actually were.
It was only after residents complained that the development was closer than expected, that the council realised its mistake and ordered building work to halt.
Timothy Mould QC advised it was too late to launch a judicial review. He said: "The council was misled by the errors on the approved plans. However, the question whether the relationship between the two mews blocks and the neighbouring dwellings was acceptable for planning purposes did not turn simply on the distance between them.
"In granting permission, the council was willing to accept the overall inter-relationship, rather than simply the distances shown on the plans.
"The application offers the opportunity to remedy the planning consequences of the error in the approved plans."
Tuesday's committee reluctantly approved the revised scheme on a split vote, allowing building work to continue. But Councillor David Payne (Eastcote and East Ruislip, Con) offered some hope to residents.
He told them: "We cannot really query the verdict of the QC but my advice to residents is to approach the ombudsmen on the basis that incorrect information was presented to the committee. There might well be some financial recompense because of the inaccuracy of the plans."