A £50m housing development at a historic wharf has fallen through after a claim a councillor breached the rules.

There have been calls for the resignation of Councillor Maureen O'Mara after she allegedly broke the code of conduct at a Greenwich planning board meeting.

It relates to plans to demolish Borthwick Wharf and alter Paynes Wharf in Deptford discussed at the meeting on January 24.

Under the Local Government Act (2001) anyone on the planning committee, who has prejudicial interests in an application should inform other members to prevent an unlawful decision being made.

They are forbidden to take part in any discussions or vote on an application.

According to Creekside Forum, Cllr O'Mara failed to tell members she belonged to the Twinkle Park Trust.

This is supported by minutes seen by News Shopper.

The planning board's chairman voted through the application to demolish Borthwick Wharf.

The trust was not only in favour of the application to build 247 luxury flats, but was also earmarked to receive £10,000 as part of a legal agreement between former developer George Wimpey and the council.

Bill Ellson, who represents the Creekside Forum, applied in January for a judicial review to get the application quashed by the High Court based on three points:

  • The role of Cllr O'Mara at the planning meeting in January.
  • Concerns regarding the original planning notice for the development.
  • The fact the proposal did not conform to the Unitary Development Plan as it was designated for industrial use and not residential.

And last week, to the delight of Mr Ellson, Greenwich Council agreed to quash the planning permission.

Mr Ellson said: "I'm walking on air. I'm absolutely delighted.

"I think Maureen should resign. She has acted inappropriately.

"It's not negligence, it's arrogance. She is a political lobbysist not a shopkeeper gallantly giving up her time.

"She is paid a significant amount to be a cabinet member and should do the honourable thing and go."

The council has confirmed Cllr O'Mara did not declare her interests verbally but said her involvement was recorded in the planning board agenda.

Deputy council leader Councillor Peter Brooks said: "Cllr O'Mara is a well- respected member of the council and was recognised as an excellent chairman of the planning board for a number of years.

"She has a sound reputation for adherence to good standards of governance.

"This situation is much regretted but the council is pursuing action to address the three points of challenge and re-process the planning application."

Another Creekside Forum member, William Richards, said: "I'm happy we have another chance to re-evaluate this planning permission and for those determining a decision to this time really listen to the public view, which has been massively against this planning application."

The developer Image Group Ltd, which bought the site from George Wimpey on February 16, will now have to submit its planning application again.

A spokesman said: "Obviously, we are disappointed by the council's decision but this does not undermine our commitment to the regeneration of Payne's and Borthwick Wharf.

"We firmly believe our proposed development will bring considerable benefits to the area and we are confident a satisfactory planning decision can be achieved going forward."