Plans to build six new homes on top of an existing block of flats have been given the go ahead despite residents’ fears people will be able to see into their bedrooms.

Just one councillor voted against the plans at a meeting of Brent Council’s planning committee last week (May 10).

Four three-bedroom and two two-bedroom flats will be built in a new storey, as well as two rear access staircases at Fairfield Court in Longstone Avenue, Harlesden.

More than 100 residents had signed a petition against adding the vertical extension, with dozens more voicing their concerns on Brent Council’s planning portal.

Rebecca Elliott, who lives nearby, told councillors that the community character will be destroyed and urged the committee to refuse the application.

She said: “The impact will be damaging and permanent. The extra floors will cast long shadows and have a huge impact [on sunlight]. It will overshadow every garden, house, and flat backing on to the development forever.”

A further statement was read out on behalf of resident Faduma Hassan. She wrote: “I bought my flat because it looks out onto open gardens and there is a strong sense of community. The proposed design destroys the original character of this charming estate and would have a significant negative impact on existing residents.”

She added: “I will be affected forever by loss of outlook, loss of privacy, loss of sunlight, and change of character. The huge 10 metre high brick stairwell would be built right next to my living room window, within touching distance. It would be oppressive and overbearing.”

She continued: “My privacy will be completely destroyed by the new footpath to the stairwell entrance, which is right in front of my bedroom and living room windows. This is completely unacceptable.”

The council’s planning officers, who recommended the plan for approval, felt that although the staircase would be visible outside the window, “it is not considered to be particularly harmful overall”. They said: “There’s going to be a notable change but we thought that location […] works”.

They added: “We do acknowledge that there would be some loss of daylight and sunlight to neighbouring properties as part of the development, […] we still consider the overall impact to not be significant enough to refuse the development.”

Martin Saluzzoo, the associate director of Tal Arc, the developers’ architects, told councillors that the plan is “the result of over a year of detailed work” and follows a “positive pre-application process and is supported by Brent Council”.

He added: “We also aim to make improvements for the benefit of all residents by refurbishing communal areas, improving soft landscaping, incorporating secure and shared cycle parking, providing larger refuse bin storage, and creating additional parking spaces.”

Despite there being no affordable housing in the development, the applicant has pledged to contribute £300,000 towards the borough’s stock following its approval. This contributed to a near unanimous approval for the plan, with just Cllr Michael Maurice voting against.

Cllr Maurice said: “I think it’s going to have a very negative impact on the other buildings around for light, as one who advocates as much daylight as possible. I think it affects people’s mental health.”