A planning inspector has backed a council's decision to refuse plans for 165 flats.

Applicant Fairview New Homes lodged an appeal after councillors at Watford Borough Council turned down an application last December to demolish the former Arriva bus garage in St Albans Road in Garston.

Fairview had put forward plans to create a part-four, part-five storey building comprising of 165 flats but the plans were unanimously refused despite a planning officer recommending the application be approved.

Councillors in the meeting last year were concerned about losing a locally listed building, while others were critical about the amount of affordable housing offered (12 homes).

The committee did also not like the design of the development.

Read more: Plans to demolish bus garage for flats refused

Read more: Family say they will 'move home' if new flats are approved

After failing to impress the council, Fairview took its plans to the government inspector - but the appeal was dismissed on October 15.

While inspector Richard Aston recognised in his report that the site can be redeveloped into housing, he described this proposal as "far too big and visually inappropriate to fit comfortably into its surroundings".

He added in his report the external appearance of the design would appear "wholly uninspiring, unappealing and to the detriment of the visual interests of its surroundings".

He concluded the proposal is "poor design that harms the character and appearance of the area".

While councillors were concerned about losing the garage due to its history, Mr Aston said the loss of this building of "overall low significance" carries no more than a "small amount of weight" against the proposal.

Watford Observer:

Locals, including councillors, campaigned against the plans. Picture taken pre-Covid

Meriden ward councillor Amanda Grimston, who fought the plans alongside residents, wrote on Facebook: "Watford Borough council has had the result of the planning appeal of Garston Bus Garage with Fairview homes and I have the absolute pleasure in announcing we and the residents have WON. The appeal was upheld.

"My thanks must go to (resident) Mark Foster and WBC (council) officers in there perseverance and support. Great news."

Read the inspector's full report here and view the application here.