Plans to uproot residents from sheltered accommodation in Blackheath to redevelop the site have been nodded through by Greenwich councillors.

The council’s cabinet agreed last night to begin rehousing Langton Way residents following a consultation and convert the existing three-storey block so it’s suitable for both older people and residents with learning disabilities.

The council originally planned to modernise Langton Way in 2013 as it looked to eliminate bedsits, but further inspections showed it would be too costly to improve as it is.

Just over half the units in Langton Way are bedsits, which the council says are becoming increasingly unpopular.

There are currently 18 empty properties in Langton Way, and 27 lived-in households.

According to the cabinet report, there is an increasing need for sheltered accommodation units for people with learning disabilities, and Langton Way ticks boxes because of its location.

The council plans to re-home existing residents as it redevelops the site into just eight “general needs” units and 20 sheltered accommodation units for people with learning disabilities.

The proposals have caused concerns with ward councillors, with Cllr Geoffrey Brighty speaking on behalf of residents at the council’s cabinet.

He said: “I was at the meeting on Monday morning with residents and it’s quite clear residents there are not particularly happy with the upheaval they are facing.

“They have a sense of community there, and they like it there. The area is flat and there is access to shops and doctors. Most don’t relish the upheaval – however they accept that it is probably going to happen.

“The new scheme envisages eight general-need units and a remainder of 20 sheltered housing for adults with learning disabilities. One of the points that concerns me is how much preference will be given to assisting residents to return there once the scheme is refurbished?

“Not everybody will be able to go back – it seems to me it would be fair for those who already live there to have first option to return.”

Some tenants would be eligible for a payout from the council for their home loss and disturbance.

The council has estimated it will hand out £280k to displaced residents, and a further £1.4m on conversion works.

Jamie Carswell, director of housing at Greenwich Council, said: “The feedback I have had is that there was a constructive conversation with residents and their families.

“Certainly one of the principles we will have is to try and keep friendship groups together so people have that sense of support. We have started to freeze lettings at nearby schemes.

“What we can’t do because of simple maths is make a blanket commitment for a right of return. But, what we have to recognise is that this will be a two-year process. At the end of it, at that point residents may have a difference of preferences or they may want to come back.

“There is no way we will let those units until we have been back to all the existing households, they would have first dibs.”

Councillor Averil Lekau, cabinet member for adult social care, said this was “as fair as [the council] could go”.