GREENWICH Council has been branded "confused and arrogant" after it bulldozed ahead with an Eltham demolition plan before a public consultation had closed.

A consultation into knocking down derelict Grove Market Place, in Court Yard, was due to run until June 11.

Yet Greenwich Council sent a letter to developers dated May 30 giving the green light to flatten the shopping arcade. The council has now apologised for the blunder and claims it was due to an administrative error.

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury said "The council seems very confused about what the point of a consultation is: to listen to the views of its residents and breathtakingly arrogant that it doesn’t need to take into account local views on a matter which is so important."

He went on to say many residents supported the arcade’s demolition but there were important questions about how to do it safely which needed to be addressed.

Plans for the £45m redevelopment of the Eltham Renaissance-owned site include a supermarket and hotel run along with new homes, 20 per cent of which will be affordable.

A Greenwich Council spokeswoman said: “The Royal Borough of Greenwich would like to say sorry for an administrative error in this case.

“The landowners of this site applied to the council for permission to demolish the existing buildings so the site can be redeveloped in line with the approved plans.

“Regretfully, an administrative error occurred for which we apologise, which meant the landowner was issued with a decision notice stating they could proceed with the demolition.

“We should have delayed issuing this notice until after the consultation period had finished.

“Because of this mistake, the council has now revoked the decision notice and a new decision notice will be issued in due course”.