The appeal hearing for an 89-flat block in a Watford town centre car park is being held today.

A one-day hearing over the development, conducted by the Planning Inspectorate, began at 10am at the Watford Borough Council offices.

If the appeal is allowed, the tower could be built on land that is currently the pay-and-display car park, Wellstones, between Exchange Road and High Street.

Three main points are set to form the basis of the discussion: the setting, light for residents and neighbours, and how heritage weighs in the planning balance.

As well as asking questions of each party, the inspector has made or will be making an unaccompanied site visit today.

Watford Observer: How the flats would look from the ring road, shown by the arrow.How the flats would look from the ring road, shown by the arrow. (Image: Telereal Trillium)

The decision date is “not yet decided” and Planning Inspectorate decisions can take weeks to be published after hearings are held.

Watford Borough Council had judged that its size would make the development “appear dominant” and compete with listed buildings including Holy Rood Church.

It added that it would cause “significant harm” to residents in an adjacent building, The Clockhouse, in terms of light and outlook.

The appellant’s statement of case disputed both points and said any harm through competing with heritage assets is “low” and “in any case, the public benefits manifestly outweigh the less than substantial harm”.