A public inquiry into the 365-flat and workspace development on Conington Road which would include Lewisham’s tallest tower begins today.

Two almost identical applications for the scheme, which includes eight, 14 and 34-storey towers, were submitted by Meyer Homes.

The first was refused last April by Lewisham Council’s strategic development committee for its transport access and capacity, affordable housing levels, and height and density.

But Meyer Homes appealed the refusal and made a second identical application, which was approved by the committee last December by four votes to three.

The Mayor of London then directed Lewisham to reject the scheme after finding the 20 per cent level of affordable housing “wholly unacceptable.”

Greater London Authority officers also questioned why the scheme was being put forward or how it would be funded, since Meyer Homes’ own financial reports found it “generates a significant financial deficit.”

It is the GLA’s reasons for rejection that will be investigated in the inquiry.

Representing Lewisham Council, Saira Kabir Sheikh QC called upon Andrew Jones, director of BPS Chartered Surveyor, as a witness.

Meyer Homes’ viability report was based on less valuable schemes like the Lewisham Gateway development, Mr Jones told the inquiry.

The less income the developer makes, the fewer social housing it can afford to build.

But the Conington Road development was bigger and more valuable, and in a more “settled and mature” environment as opposed to next to a busy road, he explained.

But representing Meyer Homes, Russeell Harris QC, said Mr Jones’ figures were “vague” and “eye-wateringly high”.

Further witnesses will be called before the inquiry is expected to finish on Friday.

The planning inspectorate will make recommendations to the Secretary of State who will decide whether the scheme can go ahead.