Plans for a new 28-storey tower on the banks of Greenwich’s Deptford Creek have been approved due to their “architecturally superior” design, amid concerns over its height and lack of affordable housing.

The Edition Group’s full planning application for Ravensbourne Wharf, which includes 129 residential units as well as office and cafe space, was approved five votes to three by Greenwich’s planning board on Tuesday.

Of the 129 units, just 26 will be classed at the London Living Rent – aimed at households with a maximum household income of £60,000.

The 20 per cent of units classed as affordable falls well short of council’s policy of 35 per cent,  something raised repeatedly by both public speakers and councillors.

Addressing councillors, a spokesperson on behalf of the Greenwich Planning Alliance said their “main concern was affordable housing” – adding the group was “continually disappointed…that developers come to the council with proposals that pay no attention” to affordable housing requirements.

She also voiced concerns over the mix of affordable housing in the project, with just four of the affordable units having three-bedrooms. 12 are one-bedroom, while 10 are two-bedroom.

“On priority waiting lists, homes suitable for families with children are top of the lists…it isn’t good enough,” the speaker added.

In explaining the levels of affordable housing in the project, a representative for the applicants said initial plans had seen the total number of units increased for the project to be “financially viable”, leading to the ratio of affordable housing decreasing.

The spokesperson also emphasised it was a “build to rent product”, saying: “You could argue that every single unit here is affordable”.

Build to rent projects mean all units will be owned and managed by one landlord, and have been introduced in a bid to combat rogue landlords gouging tenants.

In recommending the proposal for approval, council officers said it “would contribute positively to the character of the surrounding area”.

Attendees were also told how the second floor would include a gym, fitness studio, and library, available to residents through a “buy-in” plan, while a play space, residents’ lounge and roof garden would be open to all without charge.

However, public speakers also expressed concerns about how local medical services would deal with an influx of young professional couples.

“One thing they all do when they come in, is they all get pregnant,” one speaker said, highlighting swelling maternity services at Lewisham.

However, she was quickly pulled up by chair Cllr Sarah Merrill, who said although she was “telling the converted” about medical services being under pressure, it wasn’t a “material planning consideration”.

Ultimately it was the building’s appearance – which council papers say consists of a “contemporary design” including balustrades, and a mixture of concrete, planters and mesh on the outside – which ultimately won favour with councillors.

Chair Merrill said she was voting in favour on “architectural merits alone”.

“I have maintained an open mind and I know in terms of what it delivers, in terms of housing, I think there are issues…but what the scheme does do, I think is architecturally superior to anything that has come before this planning board before,” she said.

“I’m voting in favour of building on architectural merits – I do completely understand comments about supply of housing, but we are where we are.”

Among those against it were Cllr Linda Bird, who said “28-storeys is too high for me”.

“It’s too dense, I can’t approve a building so tall in such a small place…I don’t think at this point I can support it.”

Cllr Clive Mardner too praised the design, but said it needed greater levels of affordable housing.

“The design is a good design, and I applaud the people who put it together..but the issues about parking, accessibility, density…this development in terms of offering affordability is not something which will benefit (the whole Greenwich community),” he said.

The majority of councillors however agreed with the project, meaning the latest creek-side development will go ahead as proposed.