I refer to the proposed redevelopment of 51 College Road Harrow — a development in the heart of the town centre .

Harrow was once a famed and endeared town, symbolised by the spire on the hill and widely recognised as historic.

Since then, it has undergone a physical transformation and today, we are presented with a rather harsh environment.

If proof is needed, the once standing sentinel-like spire on the hill is almost eclipsed by an obese structure that overshadows the town centre.

Circling the town are unrelated office blocks, of downcast and morose countenance — a hodge-podge of building forms, lacking an over-arching architectural design.

We now have a townscape, fashioned by the planning service overseen by elected councillors.

And in the process, we have lost those qualities that endowed a town called Harrow.

As for the proposed 20-storey structure, it represents an obelisk in the epicentre of Harrow, squashing the rest of the town in scale and dominance, and in one fell swoop, radically altering the structure and character of the place.

The proposed redevelopment is bound to impose inevitable demands on the town, with far-reaching consequences for the infrastructure, transport, parking, environment and the added increase in the population, which in turn bring civic and social consequences.

The impact would ripple beyond to the surrounding neighbourhood.

The list is endless, but more specific is the clogging-up of the road network, further imposition of parking restrictions, environmental pollution and the possible ring-fencing of the town with the ubiquitous CCTV cameras and many other such like changes.

If the above was meant to highlight the visual changes to our environment, these concerns are exceeded by those coming as a result of the proposed 318 flats.

The provision of commercial space is not the same as residential accommodation — particularly within the limited confines of the town centre.

The need may be unquestionable, but we must learn the lessons of high-rise high density housing in a confined area.

Not to give credence to the likely impact on the town and more so, on lives of individuals is to overlook the emanating social, communal and community issues.

Men, women, children, individuals or families, young or old, able or disabled, will be housed in 318 flats in a high-rise block, built over a town centre and adjoining a shopping parade.

There will be limited or no shared responsibility or concern for the community and a lack of social behaviour, conveniently referred to as ‘lack of belonging to a whole’.

These situations are expertly identified as frustration happens when reality fails to match people’s expectations. The chain effect is disillusionment and in likely circumstance, breeding aggression and ultimately, anti-social behaviour.

Generally, the public are reticent when it comes to dealing with planning matters. However, if we as a community fail to respond, the residents of Harrow would be ultimately presented with a fait accompli by the planners.

A retired architect