CAMPAIGNERS fear replacing former office buildings in central Harrow with flats up to 13 storeys high could set a dangerous precedent.
Property investment firm Redefine International has submitted plans to Harrow Council to demolish Equitable House and Lyon House in Lyon Road, which housed branches of the Land Registry, Valuation Office Agency and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs until they closed in February 2010.
Constructed in their place would be 308 apartments in eight blocks with the tallest four floors taller than adjacent Platinum House.
Retired chartered surveyor Ron Tucker, spokesman for Campaign For A Better Harrow Environment, said: "It is accepted that the site is suitable for redevelopment and that there is an oversupply of offices in Harrow.
"We are particularly concerned at the proposed height of the seven new buildings with the blocks of flats at 5, 8, 9 and even 13 storeys and that if such a proposal is granted planning permission this could well set the benchmark for further such developments in the locality.
"Provision of only 118 car parking spaces for 308 flats seems totally inadequate. This is an important town centre site and serious consideration should be given to include public amenities such as a public library to more permanently replace Gayton Library."
Objector Charlotte Vine, of Gayton Road, Harrow, said: "The current residents have not been considered, overlooking problems will exist, and I do not want to look out onto a 13-storey bulding which backs on to my garage. I feel it is overdevelopment of the site."
The applicants said more than 90 per cent of respondents to their pre-application consultation favoured the redevelopment of the site although only 55 believed the level of community facilities offered justified the scale of development.
Martin Sandys, director of project managers Lockglide, said: "This [application] has evolved over a number of months. It's about the regeneration of redundant buildings.
"In March, the tallest building at that point we were proposing to have offices and we have made that residential.
"The design of that building is tall and slender and it's actually quite an elegant structure."
He added: "We have been talking with the council about the need for a doctor's surgery and a dental surgery - the equivalent of 2 1/2 doctors and 2 1/2 dentists - and we are also looking to improve the public realm.
"We're looking for the application to go the planning committee in February or March next year."
What do you think? E-mail chief reporter Ian Proctor at email@example.com
n 308 apartments in seven blocks
n 85 of flats to be affordable and managed by Metropolitan Housing Partnership
n 132 parking spaces - lost spaces offset by spaces in Platinum House's car park
n 1,750 sq m of office space
n 1,640 sq m of shops
n landscaped courtyard and children's playground
n potential redevelopment of Harrow Council-owned Lyon Road Car Park