The first stage in the regeneration of the High Path estate has been approved by Merton Council.

The plans, which still require approval from the Mayor of London before they can be put into action, includes the demolition of a children’s play area, the Old Lamp Works building and 74 garages in order to build 117 flats and 17 houses.

The new homes will be built in seven residential blocks, ranging from two and three storey mews houses and cottages to a nine storey block.

According to the application, submitted by the Clarion Housing Group, almost 60 per cent of the homes in this first stage of the regeneration will be affordable housing and all will either meet or exceed minimum space standards.

To make up for the demolition of the children’s play area, it is proposed that play facilities are installed in a new courtyard as well as a new play area being built to the south of the site and improvements being made to an existing play area in Dowman Close.

A spokeswoman for Merton Council said approval for the plans was granted on the condition that timings were provided to say when a new playground would be built to replace the old play area, so that children would not be without a play area during the works.

The plans also include 31 car parking spaces (including five disabled spaces) and room for 249 bicycles.

Chair of the High Path Community Association, Cypren Edmunds, said he was particularly concerned about an increase in air pollution and the loss of the play area.

Mr Edmunds said: “What surprised me was the ease with which the proposals went through. It needs to be looked at again.

“As residents, we do want regeneration, but we want it under our terms

“I’m really, really, concerned about this play area being removed. Where are the children going to play?"

The plans have proved controversial with residents, with registered objections including the height and proximity of the new buildings, the blocking of natural light, an increase in traffic and the loss of a play area.

Other concerns include the impact of proposals to build the new Harris Wimbledon secondary school on the High Path estate, which will share playing fields with the nearby Merton Abbey Primary School.

Mr Edmunds added: “This isn’t about trying to cause anxiety or scaremongering. This is about the future of those kids.

“A lot of the kids around here are from families that are quite poor. They don’t have much other access to recreational activities, and if their school playing fields are also being taken over then what’s going to happen to them?”

Director of Merton regeneration at the Clarion Housing Group, Paul Quinn, said: "We're building these high-quality new homes for existing residents and at the same time providing additional homes in Merton at a time of unprecedented need. 

"We've been undertaking a wide-reaching consultation programme to make sure everyone who lives or owns a property on High Path is able to view and comment on our proposals.

"We'll continue with this process during construction of the new homes."

The regeneration of the estate forms part of the Merton Regeneration Project, which aims to demolish and rebuild 1,200 homes across the Eastfields, Ravensbury and High Path estates.

Approval was granted last year for the first stage of the Ravensbury regeneration, which will see 50 disused garages at the end of Ravensbury Grove demolished and replaced by 14 flats and seven houses.