Councillors in Bexleyheath have been left “disappointed” after controversial plans for a 13-storey housing development at the old Civic Centre were greenlit.

The scheme to construct six buildings – including 518 homes and a new town square was given the green light in a council meeting on Thursday, June 14, despite objections from the public.

First submitted in December, the planning application from developer Bellway Homes expected to generate an extra £790,000 in council tax and a £3.1 million bonus to the council for new homes.

In a joint statement, ward councillors Brad Smith, Cllr Eileen Pallen, Cllr Sue Gower MBE, said the plan was not right for Bexley, but rejecting it could lead to a worse application being pushed through.

They said: “We are disappointed that the Bellway town centre development has been approved, but realise that the planning committee were restricted by the Mayor of London’s Draft Housing Plan when making a decision about this planning application.

“We object to the fact that Bexley’s housing policy has effectively been taken over by the Mayor, and urged the committee to search for a way around this.

“His high rise, high density, low parking Housing Plan is not right for most of Bexley with its limited transport links and car dependence. We are not the same as inner London boroughs.”

Residents, and MP David Evennett, had raised concerns during the developments consultation about over development and the impact and pressure it would have on the surrounding areas.

The civic centre site has been empty since 2014, and has been owned by Tesco and Sports Direct since then.

The application included affordable – not social – housing, as well as 208 parking spaces.

Bexley Council has ambitious housing targets set out in its growth strategy which would have 30,000 homes built by 2050.

Sadiq Khan’s own target for the borough however would have housing numbers increased four times over, from 446 units a year to 2,145.

The councillors went on: “Setting this precedent will encourage it to become normal in Bexley. This is a great concern for many residents.

“This type of development is an early warning of what the Mayor’s Housing Plan will encourage in Bexley, and we only need to look near Lewisham station to see what that leads to.

“Unfortunately, if the committee refused this application then the Mayor could approve an even worse version. This ended up being too great a risk for the planning committee to take when reluctantly approving the application.”

City Hall say’s the Mayor’s plans would help tackle the capital’s housing crisis, which has left a generation struggling to afford rent or own a home.