Lewisham Homes and Lewisham Council have U-turned on plans for a  housing development in Sydenham following stiff local opposition.

Plans included replacing the Hillcrest Clubroom with a 17-flat, six-storey building, four two-storey houses in High Level Drive, and one four-bedroom house in Bluebell Close.

But cabinet member for housing Cllr Paul Bell said the council had decided to withdraw the application because of ecological concerns for the site.

This was despite  “inconclusive” independent ecological research, he said.

Hillcrest Woods campaign spokesperson Kathleen Towler was thrilled the council had withdrawn the plans.

This comes after the group delivered a 700-signature petition against the development to the council last Wednesday.

“That is such a relief and I am so pleased they have listened to us. They have made the right decision,” she said.

“We were just  not going to give up. It is such an important green space and they would be absolutely ruining an irreplaceable habitat.”

The decision to withdraw the application came after “extensive public consultation” and following local concerns about the green space, according to a Lewisham Council statement.

Cllr Bell said councillors and council staff were committed to delivering 1,500 new social homes by 2022 in partnership but “have decided to err on the side of caution.”

“We remain wholly committed to developing much-needed new social homes across the borough, including in Sydenham,” he said.

London Assembly member for Lewisham, Len Duvall, had previously criticised Lewisham Council and Cllr Bell for their engagement with residents on the plans.

Residents were also concerned about the extra pressure the development would bring on local amenities, including parking.

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.