A developer wants to build homes on top of existing flats in Merton just months after a High Court battle blocked similar plans.

Merton Council originally approved plans for 15 flats on top of a block in Merton Abbey Mills in June 2021.

But its decision was quashed in the High Court as comments from the authority’s own conservation officer were not presented to the planning committee that made the decision.

In March 2022, the council refused the same application.

The conservation officer said the existing development, which is in a conservation area, would be “marred” with an additional floor.

Now, the same developer has submitted fresh plans to extend the existing Bennetts Courtyard development, which is made up of 52 flats across three four-storey buildings.

RG Airspace Developments has submitted two separate planning applications for Merton Council to consider.

Both are for an extra floor to the current blocks, one providing 17 new flats and the other 14 flats.

Sally Lines has been a Bennets Courtyard leaseholder since 2004 and brought the judicial review on behalf of her neighbours.

She described the fresh plans as “utter harassment”.

Ms Lines told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There would be a lot of noise and disruption.

"People who live at the top will lose the top floor flats they bought on purpose because they didn’t want people above them.

"Local businesses will lose light and lose the open feeling of Merton Abbey Mills.

"The character and appearance of  the building and the conservation area will be adversely affected.”

The previous application attracted nearly 90 objections but the leaseholder said locals don’t have the time to write objections “every time a new slightly tweaked application gets submitted by the same old, same old parties”.

The flats are next to the Wandle River and fall in a conservation area behind Abbey Mills, an 18th century textile mill, now home to shops and restaurants.

The planning application claims there would be “no harm” to the surrounding conservation area.

The proposal reads: “Overall, through detailed design, the proposed development seeks to preserve the elements of the Bennetts Courtyard that contribute towards the special interest of the conservation area.

"Most notably, the form and materiality has been designed to replicate the existing built form, thus preserving the overall understanding, experience and appreciation of the site when viewed as part of the conservation area.”