A proposed block of flats that will plunge a playground into darkness has sparked a backlash in Deptford.  

Developer Aurora Apartments wants to build the three-storey building on a small plot of land by the Armada Community Project and Charlotte Turner Gardens in McMillan Street. 

But locals say children will lose out on vital play space while there is a nursery playground beside the proposed build.

London green space commissioner Trina Lynskey, chair of campaign group DeptfordFolk, said it was a “terrible proposal”.  

“Green space matters. Play matters. Systematic removal of the ground beneath children’s feet is an act of violence.  

“If we care about serious youth violence we need to protect the spaces where children play. Deptford’s young people cannot keep losing out,” she said.  

One resident said she couldn’t believe it because “there was no space to build anything”.  

A staff member from nearby Rachel McMillan Nursery School said the plans “seemed crazy”, adding: “How will that be shoehorned in to such a small space?” 

Cat Conway, a governor of a school that borders Charlotte Turner Gardens as well as a parent of a child that goes there, said she was “very distressed” over the plans.

She said: “I walk past that little patch of garden every weekday four times a day as part of the school run.  

“It is a safe, nurturing, welcoming space that serves its community well: it is surrounded by two nurseries and a primary.” 

She said although she appreciates there is a housing crisis, “we also have an air pollution problem, which is why we need our green spaces and our trees”.  

Ms Conway added: “If this toddler playground is removed from Charlotte Turner Gardens, then there is nowhere for these little people to play.  

“Twinkle Park, behind the school, does not have a toddler-friendly space, and the nearest playground is Sayers Court Park, which is in a shocking state and has been for years, with broken equipment and churned up pavement and no space for toddlers and their carers.  

“The closest options are the tiny play areas incorporated into the new build developments, which are not open to the public.  

“We have a great many new builds happening in Deptford alone, such as the Anthology, the ongoing works at the Timberyard site, and whatever is going on at Convoys Wharf, all of which are within the school catchment area of Invicta.  

“Although I highly doubt any of these developments will yield affordable housing and I have little issue in principle of turning disused brownfield sites into new homes and community spaces, tearing up a toddler playground that is barely six years old – a patch of land that was always supposed to be a community space – to shove in a block of flats is, quite frankly, cruel.  

“Charlotte Turner Gardens is a community space that serves and is used by the most vulnerable of our citizens, most of whom live in flats and would not otherwise have access to green space.  

“They have rights too. We as parents, teachers, citizens need to advocate for them by ensuring they continue to have a safe place to play and clean air to breathe.” 

Greenwich Councillor Sizwe James, cabinet member for regeneration and growth said: “This application is currently under assessment and we are therefore unable to comment at this time.” 

A local music charity, which provides studio space for young people, was donated the former site of the Duke of Wellington Pub in McMillan Street more than 20 years ago. 

But Midi Music sold off the land, called Blusher’s site, last year for £105,000.  

According to the charity in a Companies House document, the sale “contributed towards increasing our reserve fund, easing the charity’s cashflow and even though we received £20k less from our land investment due to the reporter Japanese Knotweed presence, the reality of our financial position is positive”.  

The site once had a ‘community use covenant’, which protects it for community use, but the charity negotiated with the donor for it to be removed. This means the developer is free to build flats on the site.  

Midi Music has been contacted for comment. 

Lewisham Council, which rents a space to the charity in Deptford, has declined to comment.

Greenwich West Ward Labour Cllr Mehboob Khan, who will be on the planning panel, urged people to register their objections online.