Private developers will be challenged to build the highest amount of affordable homes at every stage of the planning process, Lewisham mayor Damien Egan says.

This comes after a four day public inquiry into the Conington Road application where Lewisham Council accepted developer Myer Homes could only afford to build 20 per cent affordable housing in its 365-flat and workspace scheme.

The planning inspector will prepare a recommendation for the Secretary of State who will decide whether the development can go ahead.

The development, stiffly opposed by residents, would include Lewisham’s tallest tower if approved.

Meyer Homes made two almost identical applications for the scheme, which includes eight, 14 and 34-storey towers - the first of which was refused last April by the strategic development committee.

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.”

Mr Egan, who holds the planning portfolio, said: “I strongly supported the Greater London Authority’s position on Conington Road and I hope the planning inspector in this case will recommend that the Secretary of State dismisses this appeal.

“Lewisham and the rest of London is experiencing the severe effects of a housing crisis, which is why our priority is to deliver the maximum number of genuinely affordable homes.

“I am clear that private developers should be challenged at every stage of the planning process and beyond to provide the highest possible number of genuinely affordable homes. In the past year, we have already seen a significant uplift in the numbers of genuinely affordable homes being granted planning permission. I have also asked Council officers to produce guidance that will support the council to negotiate higher levels of social housing,” he added.

A council spokesperson said: “In Lewisham there are over 10,000 people on our housing waiting list, 2,000 families in temporary accommodation and 600 families who will go home tonight to emergency hostels and bed and breakfasts. We are experiencing the effects of a severe housing crisis, so we must challenge private developers to deliver the highest possible number of genuinely affordable homes at every opportunity.”