Plans to restore the art deco façade of a town centre cinema moved a step closer to realisation after redevelopment proposals at the site were approved.

Harrow Council’s planning committee gave the green light for plans to transform the Safari Cinema, in Station Road, Harrow.

As part of the scheme, the metal cladding covering the building will be removed and its 1936 art deco design restored.

There are also plans to build 78 flats – though none of these will be affordable – in a block up to 11 storeys high, while its cinematic heritage will be maintained through the installation of a new ArtHouse cinema.

Emma White, planning consultant representing Asprea 2 Limited, said: “Harrow Council has wanted to see the art deco façade restored for years.

“It is enshrined within their planning policy for the site and the site has also been earmarked for residential redevelopment.

“For the first time, our client is in a position to be able to deliver on the council’s aspiration – to see the façade restored and Station Road enhanced by its restoration.”

Cllr Stephen Greek said he was “not 100 per cent happy” with the scheme, pointing out that he would have liked to have seen more parking spaces offered – there will be just three disabled bays – and a smaller design.

But he appreciated its position as a “landmark development” that would achieve a “long-standing” council goal of seeing the façade restored.

“You really do need these sorts of developments in areas to create a real sense of place, a sense of community and something that will raise the quality of life for its residents,” he said.

As part of the scheme, a church which makes of use of the site, V2V Community Church, would have to move out.

Elisha Sempa, representing the church, called for the application to be deferred to give it an opportunity to discuss in detail the impact of any relocation.

“V2V Church is registered as an asset of community value – there are 500-800 people who use our church on a weekly basis,” she said.

“The idea that we’re not a strong presence in the Harrow area is just not true.”

Cllr Sachin Shah said it would be “sad” to lose the church as part of the development and that he hoped to see it relocated swiftly and in a suitable location.