Phase two of Lewisham Gateway, the £375m redevelopment of Lewisham town centre, will begin this autumn.

The news came as the council’s strategic planning committee approved the final “cosmetic” details of the scheme.

The plans include 530 flats, 20 per cent of which will be let at London living rent levels – affordable housing for middle-income Londoners – with work and retail spaces, restaurants, a gym and a nine-screen cinema.

Phase one of the development saw 193 flats built over two buildings at 25 and 15 storeys high,  and involved the rerouteing of the Ravensbourne and Quaggy rivers and the redesign of the gyratory.

But councillors expressed frustration that they could only influence the layout, appearance, scale and landscaping of phase two, with the application already granted outline planning permission in 2009.

Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Bell, said new members to the committee “are being asked to make a decision on something which has little bearing on what our view of the scheme is and what is happening in Lewisham Gateway area.”

Cllr Joani Reid asked a representative from PRP Architects whether they found the design for phase one “aesthetically pleasing” and was concerned the design would contribute to the “architectural circus” of Lewisham town centre.  

Phase one was one of six finalists in a last year’s Carbuncle Cup, an annual prize for Britain’s worst building.

Objector Geoffrey Thurley, of The Ladywell Society, described the use of gold panels in the designs for phase two as “brash and overpowering.”

The committee agreed to recommend the application for approval on the condition the architects would work with council officers on aspects of the design including the external materials and landscaping.

Cllr Paul Bell expressed concerns about the corporate structure of the development’s future landlord Get Living.

As a real estate investment trust, the company pays no corporate tax and distributes 90 per cent of its income to shareholders which include the state of Qatar.

Cllr John Paschoud, chairman of the committee, said the corporate structures of a company are not planning considerations.

Cllr Brown voted against the recommendation.