Blackheath residents are deeply concerned about plans to build blocks of flats near a brain injury hospital.  

The planning application for the Blackheath Business Estate, from GS8 and Vabel, is set to go before Lewisham’s strategic planning committee on Wednesday (December 16).  

Planning officers have recommended the proposals, which include two residential blocks of nine and seven storeys, be approved.  

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The development is set to include 63 homes, 14 London Affordable Rent, six shared ownership, and 43 private, along with a four-storey office building. 

But locals say it will have a detrimental impact on a nearby hospital, disabled neighbours, and small businesses.  

The site is beside Blackheath Brain Injury Rehab Hospital, which houses NHS patients recovering from severe neurological conditions.  

The Blackheath Hill residents group, which opposes the plans, is concerned about the potential impact of the development on patients.  

“What will life be like for these vulnerable patients, overlooked and deprived of light by these two residential towers?” a spokesperson said.  

Locals are also worried about loss of trees, light, and views, as the proposed office building will back onto existing blocks Chalkhill and Cardinal houses.  

The group said some residents have special medical needs and will be faced with a 14.9 metre wall instead of trees.  

“This planning application will impact severely upon these residents, not least because most have special medical needs, as these flats were designated by Lewisham Council and Peabody specifically for them,” the residents group spokesperson said.  

The development will result in the demolition of 19 business units on the site, which locals say will deprive small businesses of their livelihoods. 

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Patrick Irvine, a local business owner, said: “The current business tenants have been very unhappy with the lack of the communication from the developer during this whole process. 

“Several consultations were held with local residents at the end of 2019 and early part of 2020, but the first time the developer contacted tenants to tell them their place of work would be demolished was not until May of this year.  

 “The developer has offered existing tenants first priority on the new commercial spaces that are being built, but no business wants to have to relocate for two years to then move back.  

“Plus, the new commercial space that is being built on this site would be completely inappropriate for the types of business that currently exist on the site.  

“There is a real lack of light industrial sites in Lewisham and surrounding areas, and many tenants are fearful about what the future holds.  

“I know of at least one tenant who has said they will have to shut their business if this development goes ahead.” 

Residents also hired a planning consultant to help. 

Pete Hadley, partner at Robinson Escott Planning LLP, said the harm the development would do is “abundantly clear and severe”.  

“Development that causes significant harm to the privacy and amenity of neighbouring residents should be refused.  

“In this case, the harm that would be caused to many neighbouring homes is abundantly clear, and severe, yet the application is recommended for approval by officers at Lewisham Council. 

 “As planners, we look to deliver the needs of the population in terms of new homes and economic development.  

“The onus is on encouraging sustainable new development. However, this cannot be ‘at all costs’.  

“In this case, the harm that would be caused by this unneighbourly development far outweighs the benefit to both housing supply and the provision of replacement employment premises. It should, in my professional opinion be refused planning permission as a result.” 

According to Lewisham planning officers: “It is considered that the proposal would not result in a harm to neighbour amenity that would warrant a reason for refusal.” 

The developers have been contacted for comment.