PLANS to build on greenbelt land in Stanmore have been approved to the fury of residents.

Harrow Council wants to end its freehold of a three acre section of Wood Farm, off Wood Lane, to allow a developer to build ten houses on a ridge with views across London.

Under the proposals, the remaining 69 acres, which have been poorly maintained for many years, will be cleared up by the company and passed back to the council.

Hugh Courts, of the Stanmore Society, said: “Where could these houses be more visibly thrust into notice and prominence than planted on the first ridge of the green belt when we look across a sea of roof tops of sprawling suburbia?”

Once it is given back, councillors want the land, which sits alongside Stanmore Park, to form part of a large area of green space open to the public.

Councillor David Ashton, leader of Harrow Council, said this was the only realistic way to clean up the farm.

He said: “I'm pleased the application went through. I think it will be a great asset and I think the expansion of the public space will be an asset.”

The proposals were given the go ahead at a meeting last night [October 2], but the society and another group are vowing the decision will not mark the end of their fight to stop the project.

Carole Lis, of Elm Park Residents' Association, said: “That housing is not an acceptable form of development within the greenbelt.

“It won't stop here. I hope the council has deep pockets. This affects every London borough, with what they passed no other London borough is safe.”

For residents the issue is not just about stopping building on Wood Farm – they are worried the decision will set a precedent for future cases involving construction on greenbelt land.

Options available to the organisations include taking the council to judicial review, a process where the two sides' disagreements would be thrashed out in court and a judge would decide if the authority had breached planning guidelines.

Council officers say the decision will not create precedent because all planning applications are considered on their own merits.

Councillor Marilyn Ashton, responsible for planning, said: “I'm not concerned about it because I don't think there's anything wrong with what we've done.”

She said the council can only allow building on greenbelt land under “very special circumstances” but said she felt there was one in this case.

The council's governing Tory cabinet is expected to give its approval to the project at a meeting on October 23.