A controversial plan to demolish a hall and erect a two-storey block of four units has been approved, despite even the leader of Bexley council speaking out in opposition to the development.

Members of Bexley’s planning committee sat last week to discuss the plans for the Harold Stevens Memorial Hall, on the corner of Devonshire Road and Standard Road in the Crook Log ward of Bexleyheath.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Teresa O’Neill OBE said her concerns for the development were “threefold” and related to the size of the application,  a lack of parking, and the impact on next door neighbours on Standard Road.

“I think it’s too large for the site. The site is very constrained…to get four properties on that small site even though they are above minimum standards is a real big ask,” she said.

She also stated she had “doubts” over a survey which suggested there was enough parking around the site to accommodate four new homes.

However, she said the “real issue” would be the impact on the neighbouring property on Standard Road, which she said could be overshadowed by the proposed development.

Her concerns were echoed by planning committee member cllr Linda Bailey.

“I think the design and proposed build of it are just too much for that site…we are a planning committee (which decides) what is put where, and I’m not happy with this one,” Cllr Bailey said.

Their concerns saw some late additions made to the design – including adding privacy screens, removing a balcony that had been proposed for a unit facing the neighbours property, and limits on external lighting – before councillors agreed on voting for it to proceed.