A community group is fighting a housing development that would block an “iconic” view.

Plans for a 19-storey skyscraper at the former post office in College Road, Harrow, were rejected by Harrow Borough Council in 2011, but later accepted by the Secretary of State subject to "world-class architectural design" being achieved.

However campaigners say that new plans for more than 300 homes at the site will block the view of St Mary's Church, which sits at the top of Harrow-on-the-Hill and was used as the borough’s symbol for the 2012 Olympics.

Councillor Susan Hall, who is opposing the plans, said: “It is simply totally inappropriate. It needs to be scaled back in mass and bulk because it isn’t just about the height.

“It isn’t beautifully designed - it looks like a load of old shoeboxes stacked on top of each other.

“We have to remember that Harrow-on-the-Hill is iconic the world over, and this mass of building is just going to upset the views up on the hill.

“Once these things are up they cannot be taken down, and to agree this proposal would be a betrayal of the people of Harrow.”

The Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment, which is leading objections, prepared comments for the developer following a public exhibition in January, but these were not sent because the planning application was submitted shortly afterwards.

Under the new plans by housing provider The Hyde Group, the current “eyesore” site will be replaced by 318 new homes, including around 50 affordable homes, spread out across three blocks of up to 20-storeys in height.

If planning permission is granted next month, the £9.5 million development will also incorporate shops, a library, a public square and a railway footbridge.

Irene Wears, a member of the Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment, said: “We have before us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop this prominent Harrow town centre site. In some ways, we consider the planning application from Hyde Housing an improvement on what has gone before, and everyone is very tired of the derelict post office.

“However we do have a number of major concerns about it. These include the excessive height, its appearance and density which will have more than 300 flats, its disruptive effect on protected views of the Hill and the disappointingly small amount of much needed affordable housing.

“We shall be submitting our detailed comments on the scheme next week and we urge local residents to make their own views clear to Harrow Council.”

Peopple have until April 8 to comment on the proposals.

Phiroze Mackenzie, of Hyde Housing, said: “We have consulted widely with the community and have held two public exhibitions and individual meetings with key stakeholder groups.

“This consultation clearly showed that neighbours welcome the site being brought back in to use and feel that the provision of new homes and community facilities will be a great benefit to the area.

“This is demonstrated in the Statement of Community Involvement submitted as part of the planning application.

“We are committed to investing in Harrow and believe our proposals will invigorate the centre of Harrow by meeting the need for new community space and sustainable housing and is a unique opportunity to deliver public space, including important civic functions such as a new central library.”