A petition objecting to a Lewisham Homes proposal to build 22 houses and flats for social rent on the Hillcrest Estate in Sydenham has gathered more than 700 signatures.

Residents are objecting to the development, which includes plans to replace the Hillcrest Clubroom with a 17-flat, six-storey building and build four two-storey houses in High Level Drive, and one four-bedroom house in Bluebell Close.

Lewisham Homes manages the council’s housing stock and builds homes on behalf of the council.

Concerns with the plans include loss of trees and green space – with the land listed as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance – and extra pressure on local amenities including parking.

Residents are also concerned the plan’s designer HTA Design LLP did not have a thorough understanding of the area, according to the petition.

“We are being force-fed a vision, designed in Edinburgh, of how we want to live that is not real.  In fact it’s the opposite of how we currently live or want to live in the future,” they wrote.

“It’s a beautiful, natural environment whose value for local people is being totally ignored.”

A number of protected species have been seen within 1km of the site, including bats, frogs, hedgehogs and the stag beetle, according to the planning application.

Resident Annette Elliott-Dunn said she had seen stag beetles in green space up for development, with tree canopy also acting as a path for bats.

But the development of the site is essential to meeting housing needs, according to Lewisham Council documents.

As of February 2018 there are 1,930 residents in temporary accommodation – 530 of which are in paid nightly accommodation, with 9,905 residents on the housing register.

With all the homes let at social rent levels, the application will: “Deliver new council homes for social rent to meet the borough’s housing need. The delivery of new dwellings on these Sites is essential to meeting housing need in the borough.”