The decision on a contentious planning application was overturned following technical issues and intervention from Harrow Council’s democratic services.

Plans for several extensions and alterations at a property in Mayfield Drive, Pinner, were ultimately rejected by the council’s planning committee by a slim majority of four to three.

However, they were initially approved after one of those opposed to the plans, Conservative councillor Chris Baxter, was shut out of voting after technical issues meant he had not heard the whole debate.

After consulting the committee’s legal adviser, planning committee chairman Cllr Keith Ferry took the decision to proceed with a vote on the item, with Cllr Baxter forced to abstain.

He then used his casting vote to approve the plans, since three councillors were for the scheme and three were against.

“We are still quorate, even if Cllr Baxter disappeared for a while – it’s exactly the same as if someone decided to walk out during a discussion and they were not allowed to vote,” Cllr Ferry said.

“I rule that it’s fair that we do vote on it and, therefore, Cllr Baxter is abstaining.”

Cllr Baxter said he “didn’t choose to walk out” and pointed out that the technical issues occurred on a council device.

And Cllr Marilyn Ashton said pushing ahead could lead to legal problems that could end up costing the council money.

She described the decision as “disgraceful” and urged officers to reassess the situation.

During an adjournment of the meeting, democratic services suggested replaying the parts Cllr Baxter had missed so he could make an informed decision.

This was agreed upon and he subsequently made the decision to oppose the plans, which meant they were rejected.

The developer had hoped to make a series of extensions and alterations to the property, including turning a garage into a living space.

Objector Shazia Akhtar called for planning officers to revisit the proposals to fully consider the loss of light and overshadowing on neighbouring properties.

And Cllr Norman Stevenson, who represents Pinner ward, described the plans as “excessive and an overdevelopment on a plot adjacent to a conservation area”.

He added that this would be a perfect opportunity for a site visit – which are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to better gauge the impact on the area.

“This is a very small road and this property is at its highest point,” he said.

“The changes proposed will have a considerable impact and will not just be visible to this road and the surrounding ones but will negatively affect the wider skyline.”