Residents hoping for a public consultation into a housing scheme have been left fuming after builders began work on the project.

Neighbours near a four-house plot in South Norwood saw an application to build five houses on the site rejected by planning councillors in February last year, after submitting almost 50 letters objecting to the project.

But a second outline application for a four-house scheme in Archer Road was granted on June 29 after drawing just five objections, and full planning permission agreed in November 2009 with just four.

John White, who lives in neighbouring Albert Road, said residents were under the impression a public meeting would be called before the scheme went ahead.

He said: “We thought ‘consultation’ meant there would be some kind of meeting where we could put our views across, and hear what the other side had to say.

“The next thing we knew they were building on there.

“Since I’ve been here I have had flats go up opposite me which used to be a glassworks - a terrific piece of architecture by William Stanley.

“There’s been another to the rear of me as well and now this.

“The council don’t seem to want to listen to what the residents want to see here.”

In a letter to ward councillor Luke Clancy, the council’s director of planning Mike Kiely said: “As you will be aware, in the context of planning applications consultation with neighbours takes the form of letters sent to them to enable them to comment on the proposed development.

“Strictly speaking, it is a process of notification but everyone refers to it as consultation. That is what took place.

“I trust that the above (letter) is clear and as you can see, the Council has acted properly with respect to these matters.”

Mr White said he had lodged an official complaint about Mr Kiely and has called for his resignation.