DEVELOPERS have won an appeal for a controversial tower block in the town centre which had been opposed by councillors and local residents.

Approval has been given by planning inspector Richard Thomas for a nine-storey building at Neptune Point, containing a Sainsburys supermarket and 146 luxury flats.

The plans was rejected by Harrow Council's planning committee in September 2008 because councillors said it was poorly designed and would not fit well with its surroundings in Pinner Road.

But Mr Thomas ruled today the “significant” size of the proposed building would be an “appropriate response to its location”.

The council's barrister argued at the planning inquiry held in May that Neptune Point was part of the Pinner Road street scene, and inappropriately large compared to neighbouring houses.

But Parkridge Developments, the company behind the Neptune Point development, countered that the new building would need to compliment Aspect Gate, Bradstowe House, and Roxborough Heights.

Mr Thomas agreed, and said “the proposed 9 storey block would signal the start of the retail experience for pedestrians entering the town centre from the west”.

He went on dismiss a suggestion from CABE, the government's planning advisors, that the design was “fortress-like”, a central argument put forward by the council to support its case for rejection.

With the council's decision overturned, Parkridge has two years to complete the development according to contractual agreements.

This should help avoid a repeat of the Bradstowe House situation, where work has stopped for many months and the scheme is widely said to have mothballed.

The decision on Neptune Point is a blow for planning committee councillors, who decided to reject the plans against the advice of officers.

It is also a disappointment for local residents' group Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment, who spoke at the planning inquiry against a scheme which they believe will create traffic chaos on the town centre roads.