PLANS for a high-rise development in a town centre have been given the go-ahead by councillors amid chaotic scenes.
Objectors to the Loampit Vale development, which includes a 24-storey tower, commercial space and a new leisure centre, protested outside Catford Town Hall before the meeting and lambasted councillors after the decision.
Three councillors voted for the plans at a strategic planning committee last night (September 10) and three voted against.
But the chairman Cllr Alan Smith, who had already voted for the plans, got to have the final say and approved the development.
This decision was met with cries of "shame" and "totally undemocratic" from people in the chamber.
Objectors began shouting at the developers and Cllr Smith was pursued by one protestor out of the council offices.
The development, to be built by Barratt Homes in partnership with Lewisham Council, includes 788 flats and has been billed as providing much-needed regeneration for the town.
But objectors referred to criticisms from the council’s own design panel which called the plans “a visual muddle”, “a greatly missed opportunity” and “excessive”.
Objector Sue Graves told the committee: “If you vote for this scheme it will be nothing more than an act of vandalism.”
Increased traffic, pressure on amenities, and a lack of affordable housing were also raised as criticisms by residents and councillors.
David Fisher of the Central Lewisham Action Group, set up to fight the plans, said afterwards: “I felt that everyone was agreeing this was right on the edge of acceptability. I thought they would at least want to look at it again.”
His group has complained to the council legal department and is demanding a public inquiry into the multiple developments planned for the area.
But committee chairman Cllr Alan Smith said afterwards: “There are a quarter of a million people in Lewisham and 92 people aren’t a democratic voice.”