A HISTORIC wharf is set for a £168m makeover, despite strong public opposition to the plans.

Councillors have given the go-ahead for a mixed-use residential and entertainment development at Convoys Wharf, in Deptford.

But a host of objectors have lined up to register their objections to the proposal.

The so-called Masterplan for the wharf has been put forward by site owner News International Plc.

The development includes plans for: l Three slender towers measuring 40, 32 and 26 storeys-high, containing more than 3,500 residential units; l The existing Olympia Warehouse to be turned into an exhibition centre; l A major recycling plant; l A new primary school, health centre and community space; l Nearly 7,000sq m of retail space.

News International says the development of the 16-hectare site also has the potential to create at least 1,500 new jobs.

Lewisham Council's strategic planning committee gave outline permission for the plans at a meeting last week.

Deputy Mayor Gavin Moore says it will have an "amazing impact" on the area.

He added: "This scheme will safeguard the homes and livelihoods of people in Deptford, by providing quality, affordable housing and employment opportunities."

Not everyone is in favour seven objectors spoke up in opposition at the meeting.

Some are concerned about the high-density nature of the development, while others say it is not compatible with the history of the 13th-century wharf.

Green Party councillor Darren Johnson, who voted against the development, said: "I think there are some serious flaws in the plan, particularly the height of the towers which is excessive.

"But I am in favour of the recycling plant, it could be a good opportunity to get freight back on the river."

The proposal will now go before Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Richard Rogers, the architect behind the Millennium Dome and London's Lloyds Building, has designed the development.

The partnership refused to comment.

Objections to news international's plan

At the planning committee meeting, a number of objections were raised to the News International proposal: Dot Salter, chairman of Sayes Court Tenants' Association, has concerns over the tower blocks: "I'm against tall buildings, they are horrible to look at. They caused social problems in the 1960s and they will cause social problems again."

William Richards, Convoys Opportunity Group, wanted to see a new cruise liner terminal: "This is a less than imaginative proposal and we deserve better. To pass this scheme would be a tragedy."

Alan Bailey, Friends of Greenwich, is worried the towers will obstruct the view of London's skyline from Greenwich Park: "These are not trivial local issues. The towers are far too high."

Deptford resident Dave Fleming thinks the recycling plant is a bad idea: "We should re-name Deptford, Dumpford."