Plans to knock down garages in a car park in Greenwich to build nine new homes have been approved after nearby residents were assured they would still be able to escape in a fire. 

The two-storey houses will be built in Abbey Wood in place of 21 garages along Godstow Road with all the homes deemed ‘affordable’.

Council documents show that 21 objections have been made against the plans, submitted by the council.

One of the concerns raised includes the impact the new buildings would have on fire safety in the case of residents in neighbouring properties needing to escape during an emergency.

News Shopper: The garages to be demolished on Godstow RoadThe garages to be demolished on Godstow Road

The proposals were discussed at a planning board meeting for Greenwich Council on September 5.

Amanda Parker, who lives beside the site, said there are up to seven people who are disabled or elderly living in the immediate area who may require an ambulance at any given time.

She said she was particularly worried about a pedestrian passageway with locked gates being added to the site, which council documents said would be done to reduce safety concerns and limit access to the gardens of existing flats.

Ms Parker said at the meeting: “You say about the walkways down the side of the buildings and I understand that, but if that’s going to be gated off then how are the upstairs residents meant to get out in an emergency if there is a fire?

"We’re a two-storey maisonette and you’ve got people that live upstairs.”

Charles Ugbul said he lives on Godstow Road and is a leaseholder for a building beside the garages.

He said he often uses one of the car parks to access his own parking space elsewhere.

He said the site was very small and felt it wasn’t big enough for any new buildings.

Mr Ugbul said at the meeting: “I will tell you something that happened last year. There was a very big fire that occurred on Godstow Road and I had to use that car park to escape it, between myself and my family.”

Matt Rudgyard, senior project manager at Greenwich Council, said at the meeting that the gates had been designed to provide safety and security to the existing rear gardens on the site.

He said there is currently informal access to the gardens and that residents seemed to be already using their own padlocks for their safety.

Mr Rudgyard added: “We’re not really introducing much more in terms of additional security.

"I would suggest that if we do have locking mechanisms to the footpaths, they would be thumbscrews on the inside so that there aren’t situations where people can’t get out.”

Andrew Fisher, representing Greenwich Builds, said at the meeting that emergency vehicles will be able to access the new houses readily from Godstow Road.

He said that the properties had been developed to provide affordable new homes to residents at social rent prices.

Mr Fisher added: “The land at Godstow Road comprises garage sites which have long outlived their original intended use.

"The new houses are designed to respect their setting and provide a successful addition to the existing residential environment.”