People living in some Harrow’s conservation areas will now need planning permission to make changes to the front boundaries of their properties.

Harrow Council’s planning committee last week agreed to impose new rules in ten conservation areas across the borough.

It means any changes to, demolition of, or erection of gates, walls, fences, or other enclosures will now need to be approved by the council.

These previously fell under permitted development rights.

The affected areas are East End Park, Pinner High Street, Pinnerwood Park, Pinner Hill, Little Common, Stanmore Hill, Kerry Avenue, Canons Park, Brookshill Drive and Grimsdyke Estate, and Harrow Weald Park.

According to the council, this ‘Article 4’ direction will support its commitment to the “improved protection of areas of special architectural or historic interest [that] will help maintain the unique historical local character of areas or neighbourhoods within Harrow which residents cherish and value”.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton (Stanmore Park), Harrow Conservatives’ spokesman on planning, questioned whether this was the correct approach given the impact it could have on individual households.

She said she recognises the value of Article 4 directions but suggested proposing this served as a “distraction” when major schemes in conservation areas are being recommended for approval.

“Unfortunately, [council officers] raise no objections to some terrible things that happen in conservation areas like we saw at Pinner golf course, John Lyons School and Canons Park Station,” she said.

“Although I don’t see this as a terrible idea, I do think we need to get our priorities right.

“Frankly, I think we’ve got them slightly wrong, and I’m not convinced that, overall, this is really going to achieve very much other than make individual householders’ lives a little more difficult.”

She was supported by Cllr Anjana Patel (Con, Belmont) who said it appears there is “one rule for big developers and something else for individuals that makes their lives hell”.

Cllr Patel, Cllr Ashton, and Cllr Christopher Baxter (Con, Headstone North) abstained during a vote on the new measures, but they were approved as the four other members of the committee backed them.