HARROW'S skyline is set to change dramatically now that plans for high-rise housing have been approved.

Protesters had come out in force to campaign against 383 flats planned in the old Gayton Library site, Gayton Road car park and a private block called Sonia Court.

But the Harrow Council planning meeting last Wednesday dashed their hopes, rejecting their complaints that the five blocks would be too tall, out of character with the area and would lead to an increase in crime.

Ron Tucker, 69, has lived in Ashburnham Avenue for 40 years. He is outraged the flats have been given the go ahead.

He said: "Such a development is totally out of place with the properties in the surrounding area.

"A high rise development of eight and 10-storeys high will have an overpowering impact on the adjacent properties.

"This is an ill judged financial structure, selling off the public assets, the family silver, to balance the books. Do we want a 10-storey block of flats to be a focal point in Harrow?"

The development will have a mix of accommodation, including four and five bedroom flats and three children's play areas.

Thirty-five per cent of the development will be 'affordable' housing and the tallest block will be 10-storeys.

Councillor Keith Ferry (Labour), who sits on the planning committee, said: "We are the only borough in London which is building tower blocks when everyone else is knocking them down.

"We are building an area fit for crime and only a third of the accommodation is affordable.

"There are already applications going through for other developments in the town centre.

"I just don't know if the Greenhill ward can cope with an influx of more people."

Developers, Fairview New Homes and Mount Anvil, had to revise original drawings submitted last December, after thousands of people objected to the scheme.

GKA, which represents the two companies, said: "The site's proximity to the town centre with access to good quality public transport and local services provides an excellent opportunity to a promote high quality regeneration scheme.

"A lot of time has gone into creating the design and we believe it will bring about significant benefits to Harrow town centre, including housing."

Marilyn Ashton, chairwoman of the planning committee, said: "We have carried out extensive analysis into the how the new buildings will affect the area and I am satisfied with the plans. The development of homes in the town centre is also evidence that we are protecting the suburbs too."