A community group hoping to overturn Lewisham Council’s approval of a development has officially applied for a Judicial Review in the High Court.  

See related: Decision for Sydenham Hill Estate 'unlawful', say locals

In August, a Lewisham planning committee approved an application from City of London Corporation to build 110 new social homes on the Sydenham Hill Estate, with the decision officially published in November. 

As per an agreement with the council, half of the homes will be let to Lewisham residents.    

Residents spoke against the scheme at the planning meeting, concerned about density, pressure on amenities, disabled access, lack of proper consultation, and the impact the development would have on Grade II listed Lammas Green and the conservation area.   

Mature trees are also set to be cut down if the development goes ahead.

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Trees by Mais House

But planning officers and committee members felt “on balance” the need for social housing was too important.     

Since then, Friends of Mais House has been raising funds and mounting a legal challenge to the decision.  

The group is seeking a Judicial Review on various grounds – they say the council failed to take into account the harm the development would do to Lammas Green and the conservation area.   

They argue that the council failed to take into account that its own conservation and urban design officer objected to the scheme and “omitted significant parts of her advice”.   

The group wants the approval to be quashed and for City of London to “sit down and work on a co-design with the estate residents”. 

On January 29, lawyers acting on behalf of a member of the group filed a reply to the council’s defence.  

A judge will now consider whether to grant permission for a Judicial Review into the council’s decision to approve the development.  

If approved, the case will move to a full hearing.  

One campaigner said: “There is lots of talk these days about Lifetime Homes, but this estate was a Lifetime Neighbourhood.  

“Some people have lived here for 60 years or more.  

“But there is no room in the City’s plans for the vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled.  

“The bare legal minimum of wheelchair accessible units will be provided, all of them small, none of them family homes.  

“There will no longer be sheltered or assisted living homes on the estate.  

“Lewisham has a duty of care to its residents. It shouldn’t banish us from our community just at the time we need it most.”  

Responding to the planned legal action previously, Cllr Paul Bell, cabinet member for housing and planning, said the development will provide new social housing for Lewisham residents.    

He said: “It will mean a change in the local area and we recognise that.

“Homelessness, severe overcrowding and a lack of secure, decent and genuinely affordable housing means we need new homes as soon as possible.”