I REFER to the article 'Couple are fined £10K for flouting planning notices' in the June 24 edition.

For the record, I spent years as the previous portfolio holder for planning, and before that, when the Conservatives were in opposition, trying hard to stop these ghastly conversions of family houses into flats.

However, this task was made virtually impossible because of the Labour Party's Unitary Development Plan and their policies on houses in multiple occupation and conversions.

The policies were the main reason why, in 2004, the Conservatives refused to support the adoption of the plan for Harrow and voted against it at the full council meeting.

I have long advocated that the council needs to facilitate the building of decent quality, purpose built affordable homes like the regeneration of the Rayners Lane Estate.

This is not to say that all conversions are inappropriate, but many of them are unacceptable and they destroy the communities in which they sit, put too much strain on the infrastructure in homes which were built for single family occupancy and are not intended to be subdivided into small and often inappropriately-sized flats.

MARILYN ASHTON Retired portfolio holder for planning, development and enterprise