AN application for a block of flats dubbed an “irrevocable blight on the landscape” will be reviewed by the government.
Plans for the former post office site in College Road, Harrow, were recently nodded through by Harrow Council’s planning committee by a majority of four Labour councillors.
The development, from housing provider The Hyde Group, includes 318 homes, a community library, along with outdoor space.
Campaigners approached Harrow East MP Bob Blackman earlier this year in a last ditch attempt to halt the housing development.
The Conservative MP then wrote to the Secretary of State Greg Clark in August to highlight a number of serious concerns over the development.
Now the Department for Communities and Local Government has contacted Harrow Council to advise that the Secretary of State had received a third party request to call-in the application for his own determination.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has the power to take over – or ‘call in’ - planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide on the outcome,
They will normally only do this if the application conflicts with national policy in important ways, or is nationally significant.
Mr Blackman said: “This response is an extremely encouraging sign that objections to this development are being heard at the highest levels.
“I very much hope that Greg Clark will look carefully at the detail and uphold the objections previously made about the scale of this development.
“If the plans were of a more reasonable proportion, there would not be such an urgent need for this intervention.
“However as it stands, this promises to be a monumental and irrevocable blight on the landscape.”
In 2011, plans from Dandara for a 19-storey skyscraper at the site were rejected by Harrow Council.
But the Secretary of State later said that planning permission to build a 19-storey structure at the site would be approved, subject to "world-class architectural design" being achieved.
The current Hyde Group application will now be forwarded for the Secretary of State’s consideration, and campaigners say this may serve as a first step towards a victory for the people.