Plans for shared homes for 36 people across two town centre sites were approved despite concerns that the number of people living together could cause “problems”.

Harrow Council gave the green light to designs for two houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in locations near the town centre.

Its planning committee narrowly voted in favour of granting permission for a 17-person HMO in Headstone Road, while plans for a 19-person shared home in College Road were also ratified.

Regarding the Headstone Road site, Harrow Conservatives planning committee spokesperson Cllr Marilyn Ashton took issue with “the number of people expected to use the site”, suggesting it is “going to cause problems”.

She noted the inevitable disputes that could arise with so many people, with different customs and circumstances, living across two storeys.

Cllr Anjana Patel agreed with this assessment and said approval could come back to haunt the council through “all kinds of issues in the future”.

“I’m very emotional about this and, as far as I’m concerned, I’m disgusted that we’d ask people to live in such a small area with little privacy,” she said.

She added that, while there is a clear “need” for more accommodation in Harrow, she is not convinced this is the most suitable type.

However, the scheme was backed by the committee’s Labour councillors who were satisfied with the council officers’ recommendation to approve it.

Cllr Ghazanfar Ali, deputy chairman of the planning committee, said it would make good use of land that has been “derelict for many years” and will help “provide accommodation that we lack [in Harrow]”.

At the site in College Road, councillors unanimously agreed to the scheme, provided a condition was included that would see the communal kitchen area split in two.

This, they explained, would avoid the issue of almost 20 people having access to a single space and the issues that could come with that.

Council officers noted that planning permission had already been granted for an HMO with 11 units at the site.

Developers plan to extend the building by two further floors, which will make it six storeys in total and cater for 19 people.