A PUBLIC inquiry into controversial plans to turn a pub into flats has ended in success for campaigners.

Planning inspector Philip Wilson rejected Renewal Beckenham Ltd's application to turn the disused Green Man pub in Bromley Road, Catford, into a five-storey block containing 54 flats.

The developer's application to demolish the empty pub was rejected by Lewisham Council on November 9 last year.

Subsequently, a two-day public inquiry was held into an appeal against the decision at Livesay Memorial Hall, Perry Hill, Catford, on July 17.

In his decision issued last Thursday, Mr Wilson stated the effect of the proposed development on its surroundings was a key issue in the case.

He said: "A structure in this position, rising five storeys, would be unacceptably dominant as part of the street scene and oppressive to passers-by."

At the inquiry, the council argued the number of habitable rooms per hectare for the site was far higher than allowed under planning guidelines - the reason why the initial application was rejected.

Mr Wilson stated the density of the development would "significantly exceed" these planning guidelines.

John Grosvenor, secretary of Catford Southend Residents' Association, said: "I am delighted the planning inspector rejected the appeal by the developer.

"The inspector has agreed with the concerns raised by many people in the area about the density of the proposal.

"He also felt the proposed development would have adversely affected the surroundings, which includes the Grade II listed St John's Church buildings next to the site."

Mr Grosvenor added: "However, this developer and others are likely to reapply and people need to stay alert to what is being proposed.

"Otherwise, the character of Southend Village will be lost.

"For the moment, people are celebrating."

Whitefoot ward councillor Dan Houghton said: "Councillors and residents are delighted by this outcome, which vindicates the original decision of the planning committee last year."

Renewal Beckenham Ltd was unavailable for comment.