Plans to build 86 new homes in Holywell have been granted permission by Watford Borough Council.

They are the second phase of a four-phase development plan being delivered by Hart Homes, a joint venture development company set up by Watford Borough Council and Watford Community Housing.

Following a Development Management Committee meeting on Wednesday (September 4), it agreed to four buildings being erected along a strip of land which connects Ascot Road in the north with Tolpits Lane in the south, extending to the Epsom Road site.

Phase two will see 23 of the 86 homes with affordable rent, social rent or shared ownership schemes. The remaining homes will be sold at market value.

Council figures suggest the second phase will provide 35 per cent of affordable housing, calculated on the number of habitable rooms.

But the decision to grant planning permission has been met with criticism from Labour Party councillors, who opposed the plans due to the height and loss of green space.

Nigel Bell, leader of the Labour group and Holywell councillor, moved a motion to reject the planning proposal for the Epsom Road site on the grounds that the buildings would “distort the area, changing the pleasant green at Croxley forever”.

This was supported by fellow Labour councillors Favour Ezeifedi and Mo Mills.

Cllr Ezeifedi said: “Despite the Lib Dems hitting their 35 per cent target for social housing, this was manipulated so the target was met on a room by room basis as opposed to actual housing units.

“It is very disappointing that whilst we have declared Watford town to have a climate change emergency, the Liberal Democrat’s are also happy to lose green spaces which are needed to combat this issue - green spaces that are greatly loved and used by residents.”

Chris Ostrowski, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Watford added: “Watford needs affordable homes, not on a room by room basis, but real genuine housing units.

“Just like the faux outrage they displayed over permitted development, which they helped to pass as part of the coalition government, this target twisting shows the housing hypocrisy from the Lib Dem’s once more.”

But the council said the site is not green belt land, and has been designated as a suitable development site since 2000 following the ‘West Watford Relief Road’ safeguarding being removed in 1998.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said it was “sad” that Labour councillors are against the plans for “much needed affordable, family homes for local residents.”

He continued: “As well as delivering family homes, this development will provide public space for residents, is on the doorstep of King George V Playing Fields and the Ebury Way nature trail and it is well connected by public transport.

“Rather than pretending that they can stop all development, Labour should be working with us to make sure we have homes that people can afford and fighting for investment in better services for everyone.”