AN ELTHAM community has hit out at the potentially "devastating" effects of an eight-storey development which was "bulldozed" through by a planning board.
Plans for 144 flats with just 49 parking spaces at the Grove Market Place development were passed four to three at a planning meeting on February 17, with Greenwich Council leader Councillor Chris Roberts casting the deciding vote.
Around 60 residents had opposed the Citygrove plan with objections ranging from the "prison-like" design to the lack of parking having a "detrimental" effect on the Bob Hope Theatre.
A Victorian sewer will carry the extra load from the new development and there are fears for homes above it which have flooded in the past from the drain bursting.
Mother-of-two Judy Evans, whose home in Wythfield Road was flooded in 2008 with two inches of sewage, told News Shopper: "There’s been a lot of upset and anger over the whole thing.
"The way it was bulldozed through. It is very frightening that those taking care of you are [more] worried about the developer’s back pocket."
She added: "It looks like a prison."
The 57-year-old nurse says she endured six months of repair works, insurance costs and suffered a burglary while the previous damage was being fixed.
Mrs Evans said: "I can’t bear to go through it again. It would be an insult. We are afraid.
"You feel like a child, you feel helpless."
Greenwich Conservative ward councillor for Eltham South, Councillor Adam Thomas, says the community was not against development in the area but a proper consultation should have taken place He said: "We are obviously disappointed.
"A large body of opinion in the Eltham community thought this was not the right development for the centre of Eltham."
Much concern was over the future of the Bob Hope Theatre where elderly and disabled audience members rely on parking spaces which will now be shared with the future residents.
Member of the board at Bob Hope Theatre, Jim Shepherd, said: "Much of our audience are elderly - if they can’t park, we worry they won’t come.
"It could have a detrimental effect on the Bob Hope Theatre.
"It is going to have a devastating effect on some residents."
Greenwich Council planning board chair Councillor Ray Walker said: "This is a key site in Eltham which will now be transformed into a new development that will provide much-needed quality new homes for the area which will all help to stimulate the local economy even further.
"The board recognised the concerns of residents together with the Bob Hope Theatre and it applied some relevant conditions while taking into account the material considerations of the Planning Inspectorate and earlier planning decisions.
"It's good to see the future of the site move forward."