A “historic” 19th century building is set to be demolished as part of a redevelopment to provide new homes, educational facilities, and workspace.

Brent Council’s planning committee approved proposals to turn a Victorian-era site in Morland Gardens, Stonebridge, into a new adult education centre alongside 65 affordable homes.

It came despite several pleas from neighbours and local historians to protect the heritage site – one of only two remaining in the ward.

Roger Macklen, of Willesden Local History Society, described the building as “unique and irreplaceable” and said its “destruction would be a terrible loss”.

He was supported by fellow historian Philip Grant, who pointed out that the council officers’ report on the application noted this is a building of “high significance” and that harm to it would be “substantial” for the area.

Cllr Abdi Aden, who represents Stonebridge ward, noted residents’ concerns around the size of the development, suggesting nine storeys is “too high”.

He added removing the current building would “detract from the character of Stonebridge”.

There was some support for the application – Harlesden-based youth leadership consultant Errol Donald said it would provide “an essential step in reinvigorating the community”.

He said it would provide “real hope and genuine opportunities” and give those in the area the chance to “thrive and grow” in the same way other communities in the borough have.

And he suggested it was important to look at heritage as “fluid”, pointing out that “the world is moving at a pace we weren’t aware of 50 or 100 years ago”.

The planning committee was split on its decision – chairman Cllr James Denselow voted against the plans as he said he could not “in good conscience” support cutting the number of heritage sites in the ward in half.

He was joined by Cllr Michael Maurice who also criticised the loss of a significant building, while Cllr Orleen Hylton abstained from voting on similar grounds.

The five remaining members voted in favour of the proposals, representing a majority.