DEVELOPMENT firm Dandara has said it is disappointed at the rejection of its plans for Harrow town centre but will return with a new design.

A planning inspector ruled last week that the company could not have planning permission for its housing development on the old Post Office site in College Road, saying the design did not possess any “outstanding qualities”.

The decision was painted as a victory for local residents and councillors who had opposed the scheme and driven it to the planning appeal, and they issued a call for a major rethink of the plans.

Andrew Wagstaff, group property director for Dandara, said the firm was “disappointed”, particular as the plans were knocked back because of the style of the proposed building – art deco tower blocks which were a reaction to advice from Harrow Council officers.

At the time of the planning appeal, Labour councillor Navin Shah described it as “mediocre, unexciting, and far from innovative”, a view the inspector appeared to agree with.

But he said the company would take many positives from the decision, including an acceptance of the height of the development.

He said: “Dandara is pleased that the decision confirmed the acceptability of all the other important principles including the appropriateness of a tall building, the height of a tall building at 19 storeys, the proposed density, a residential led development, public spaces, the provision of the footbridge, level of contributions and highways issues.

“Dandara is looking forward to working with the council in revising the architectural quality of the scheme with a view to re-submitting the proposals.

“We remain committed to delivering this key town centre project and whilst disappointed the decision was not favourable, we are pleased that it finally provides clarity with regard to the principles of an acceptable future development scheme.”

He added the firm was willing to engage with the council's new Major Developments Panel to try to flesh out a mutually acceptable development.

Residents' group The Campaign for a Better Harrow Environment which opposed the Dandara plans said it was pleased with the inspector's decision, and added: “We shall remain vigilant and active in regard to future town centre development applications and will ensure that, as with this scheme, the views of the people of Harrow are taken fully into account by the decision makers."