A housing development that will provide 149 “affordable” one-bed flats in Harrow town centre was approved by councillors, despite concerns it will have a negative impact on those living nearby.

Harrow Council’s planning committee granted permission yesterday evening (Wednesday, March 17) for the scheme at the site of Halfords, in Sheepcote Road.

Councillors unanimously backed the project by developer Pocket Living, which they said will support local first-time buyers who might otherwise struggle to get onto the housing ladder.

However, those living in nearby Manor Court argued the development, which will be up to nine storeys high, will have a “severe and detrimental” impact on their privacy and amenities, with the narrowest gap between properties standing at 15.8 metres.

And those living in Manor Parade said reduced access would force them to rethink their rubbish collection arrangements, which could involve bins being dragged hundreds of metres.

Council planning officers explained concessions had been made in terms of height, ensuring that the development was lower at points where it was closer to existing homes.

They added a new refuse strategy would be agreed between Manor Parade residents and council officers following approval.

The scheme is deemed 100 per cent affordable, with all flats sold at 80 per cent of the market value.

Homes will be offered up exclusively to Harrow residents for the first three months, while there is an agreement in place which means they must be resold at an “affordable level” to ward off investors.

The development is car-free, save for five disabled spaces, while officers explained the removal of the Halfords bays does not constitute an overall loss of parking since they served a specific business rather than the wider public.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton (Con, Stanmore Park), Harrow Conservatives’ spokesperson on planning, said she “sympathised” with neighbouring properties but that, overall, this represented a positive development.

She acknowledged such a scheme would be unlikely to pass in other parts of the borough but, given its location on purpose, she was happy to support it.

Cllr Christopher Baxter (Con, Headstone North) agreed that it was an “innovative” project that will result in “great starter homes” for many Harrow residents.

Nick Cuff, chief commercial officer at Pocket Living, described the decision as a “shot in the arm” for Harrow town centre that will help address the wider housing crisis in the borough.