Contentious plans for a tower block in Abbey Wood have been thrown out by Greenwich councillors after fears young families would not be able to afford the homes.

Developer Abbey Wood Property Ltd had proposed the demolition of a car wash and a pet hospital in place of four new housing blocks in Eynsham Drive.

The towers – close to Lidl – would be three, eight, 14, and 17 storeys tall, and bring a combined 272 homes.

Room for a new pet home had also been included in the plans, as well as space for shops, restaurants and 59 car parking spaces.

Councillors threw out the proposals, claiming the planned development was too high, too expensive and did not conform to the planning policies.

Speaking to the planning board, ward councillor and former council leader Denise Hyland said: “It’s about overcrowding, it’s about density. There are 408 units per hectare, the maximum is 260. Out of the 272 new homes, only 28 will be for families – and yet this is in a ward occupied by families.

“I want to object on the grounds of mass, scale and bulk. This proposal is in breach of the London Plan.

“The travellers' site just behind it, the industrial estate, are all low rise. This will dwarf those sites.”

Overall, 35 per cent of the housing would be affordable – which is Greenwich’s policy –  and the majority of homes included in the proposals were two-bed.

Resident Frank Learner voiced his objections, saying that schools and GPs were already stretched, and that an extra 272 homes would be inappropriate.

He said: “Streets are already at full capacity. It is a grave error of judgement to assume residents would abandon their vehicles for public transport.

“We need accommodation for all our citizens, not just those who can muster up a deposit. These towers are a commodity, they are built not for people but for profit.”

Despite the applicant’s claim it had put families at the centre of its development, Cllr Gary Dillon went on to grill them on the affordability of the scheme, saying the properties would be out of reach for Greenwich families.

Cllr Dillon said: “The average income in Greenwich borough is roughly £45,000 a year. How many of your apartments would be affordable considering current lending criteria?

“How many would be affordable to the people who actually live in the borough. The point is you spoke for ten minutes about affordability, but most people in this borough would not be able to purchase your properties.”

The developer said it was bringing much-needed homes, jobs and commercial spaces to an area earmarked for major regeneration as it prepares for the arrival of Crossrail.

Councillors disagreed, however, and said the scheme was too high, dense and expensive.

Cllr Linda Perks said: “Our young families won’t benefit from this, and it’s young families who need homes. Young people who can afford it come into our borough, and we aren’t seeing the type of houses we need for our young people.”

All councillors voted to reject the proposals, with one abstention from chairwoman Sarah Merrill.