A judge has granted a Judicial Review into a Lewisham Council planning decision, giving hope to a community group trying to overturn it.  

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

See more: Court action against Lewisham Council takes step forward

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.    

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

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 applied to the High Court for 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”.  

Mrs Justice Lang issued permission for the review on February 11, stating in her order that the claimant’s grounds are “arguable and merit consideration”. 

The case will now move to a full hearing. 

A spokesperson for FoMH said the group was “delighted” about the decision.  

“Until now, Sydenham Hill Estate has been protected by Conservation Area status, with parts of the Estate also being Grade II Listed.  

“But those safeguards did nothing to prevent a Lewisham planning committee granting approval for a scheme that would tower over existing housing and change forever the delicate ecological balance between Sydenham Hill and its ancient woodland.  

“Lewisham Cllr Paul Bell said he knew the scale of the redevelopment was hard for residents, but ‘the City of London and Lewisham Council are asking residents to make a sacrifice’.  

“But residents feel that they, their families, neighbours and future generations are having too high a sacrifice imposed on them that will see the loss of irreplaceable wildlife habitats and much-needed, well-used green space,” they said.  

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.”