THE approval of a nine-storey development in the town centre has been described as “a very sad day for Harrow” by a leading councillor.

Councillor Marilyn Ashton, in charge of planning at Harrow Council, hit out at an planning inspector's decision today to throw out opposition to the Neptune Point development.

She said: “I am absolutely horrified at this, this is a very serious event indeed.

“The inspector has completely ignored CABE, the government planning experts, completely ignored the wishes of local people, and completely ignored the wishes of the planning committee.

“This is a sad day for Harrow, and shows we are going to have things forced on us and I don't want that to happen.”

Cllr Ashton drafted the reasons herself for refusing the scheme, citing its “excess bulk” and saying it was out of character in the context of neighbouring houses.

But planning inspector Richard Thomas rejected all the arguments, and granted planning permission to Parkridge Developments to start work on the supermarket and flats development.

Harrow Council rejected the scheme in September last year to the delight of residents' group Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment, who believe Neptune Point will cause gridlock on the roads near the two centre.

But Mr Thomas threw out their arguments as well, saying “there would not be any significant impact on traffic flows”.

Cllr Ashton said: “I think we all need to start to hold the inspectors to account. It's about we started to complain.

“I think the inspector's behaviour is shameful.”

She says she intends to write to newly appointed Secretary of State for Communities John Denham MP, and ask him to overturn the decision.