Controversial plans to concrete over parks in Erith have been pushed back following a lively debate in a packed council chamber last night (March 22).

Neighbours and members of campaign group Save Wilde Road turned out in force to oppose the Council-led scheme that would have had two open spaces near Wilde Road  built upon.

Bexley councillors debated the application – submitted by Bexley Council – for an hour and a half before resolving to defer making a decision.

The plan to build 12 flats – six of which would be affordable – with just 12 parking spaces was met with fierce opposition by neighbours.

Speaking at the meeting, Chris Brown, one of SWR’s organisers, said the original application for the estate granted in 1996 included conditions to safeguard the two open spaces.

“The importance and protection of these open spaces within this development has been identified in police, in outline and in planning approval”, he said during a three-minute speech.

“Whilst we understand the importance of affordable housing this alone should not override planning conditions in place.”

Neighbours also raised concerns about the levels of parking included considering how narrow the “already-well developed” area.

Viv Waters, another of the group’s organisers, drew attention to the lack of a daytime parking survey.

She said: “We are not against building new homes in the borough we are against where they are being built and once these green spaces are gone they are gone forever.”

News Shopper: Impressions of what the development would look like

But Nick Taylor, a planning agent for Bexley Council, rebuffed neighbours claims, stating the affordable housing provision from the development outweighed the site being listed as an asset of community value.

He said: “This site is one of a number the borough is taking forward to address the borough’s housing needs. The proposal includes one to one parking, supported by highway officers.

“We acknowledge the site has been listed as an asset of community value, but contend that there are a number of other open spaces in the area in very close proximity that can be easily accessed and used for the same purposes such as dog walking.”

Mr Taylor also said that the proposals did not impact the amenities of existing residents, a claim that was met with laughter from the audience.

Concerns were also raised over the legality of the project because of conditions included in earlier applications for the area, as well as the impact of additional traffic.

Councillor John Davey said: “I understand we do need houses, we do need affordable houses. There’s not enough on this site, I don’t think there is enough for the problems it will cause.

MORE: Wilde Road: Plans for houses on Erith parks set to be approved​

“My main concern is the loss of open space. The character will completely change when you start eliminating open spaces.”

Councillor Alan Downing said: “This is a difficult one because the council are involved. But, under normal circumstances, would we pass this?

"If I was a resident I would be annoyed – I would be sitting out there making as much noise as those here tonight. There’s not enough community space, or space for parking. Would we approve this on a normal evening?”

 A motion to refuse the plan by cllr Danny Hackett was rejected, but councillors eventually reached a decision, voting in unison to defer the decision until improved plans for parking are submitted.