SENIOR politicians have welcomed the rejection of plans for three residential tower blocks in Harrow town centre.

A planning inspector this afternoon rejected an appeal by development firm Dandara, which was attempting to force through its plans for the old Post Office site in College Road.

The flats, in parts 19 storeys high, came up against significant opposition from Harrow councillors and residents, who stood up against it at a planning appeal in March.

Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West, said of yesterday's decision: “This is good news for Harrow residents. It gives everyone a chance to think through what sort of development is right for that site.”

Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said: “This is extremely good news and I’m positive the people of Harrow will be absolutely delighted with this decision.

“It was the Conservative-led planning committee that unanimously refused permission in June last year, with then chairman Councillor Marilyn Ashton writing the reason for refusal and giving vital evidence to the appeal in March.”

New Labour planning chief Councillor Keith Ferry also praised former Cllr Ashton for the work she put in opposing the Dandara plans, and agreed now was the time to develop new plans in conjunction with the development firm.

He said: “The best way forward now would be to sit down with Dandara and discuss what would be acceptable on this site.

“We tried to do it before, but they were high-handed in their attitude. As it turns out, that wasn't very productive.

“I imagine now they have had the decision, they might be a bit more flexible in their approach.

“In the meantime, this is a victory for Harrow and there are an awful lot of people who will be pleased with this.”

The inspector, backed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, decided the plans were not of significant enough quality.

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