The mayor of Watford has welcomed a government announcement that it is banning windowless flats.

The housing minister, Christopher Pincher MP, has said this week that when offices are converted into flats, the rooms must have "adequate natural light", under new permitted development right regulations.

Last year, a government planning inspector overruled Watford Borough Council to approve plans for 15 tiny flats in Wellstones in the town centres - of which six of the flats had no windows.

The plans for 15 flats were later dropped and revised to nine flats - all with windows.

Hillingdon Times:

Plans were submitted to convert this building into 15 flats

Mayor Peter Taylor called for a change in the law stating it was "not acceptable that councils were unable to stop poor developments such as the Wellstones application".

Mr Taylor has welcomed Mr Pincher's announcement which he says comes after a campaign led by the Watford Liberal Democrats.

Former town mayor Baroness Dorothy Thornhill and former parliamentary candidate Baroness Sal Brinton have highlighted the issue, in the House of Lords.

Mr Taylor said: "I am pleased that the government have listened to us and have banned windowless flats. It is a scandal that anyone could approve accommodation that doesn't even have a window. These tiny rooms were simply not fit for human habitation."

However, the new government regulations mean developers can now build upwards when converting offices into flats without seeking planning permission.

This would mean two more storeys, up to 30 metres, without permission.

The council says this could mean that high rise development could be built in Watford without the developer needing any planning permission.

Mr Taylor added: "I am worried about these new rights for developers to build upwards in our town without permission, which will take more powers away from councils and hand them to developers. The government has also failed to say anything about the size of the rooms which people could be living in.

"We have all know the consequences of families living in overcrowded and cramped accommodation.

"I want everyone in our town to have the right to live in a decent, good quality home and it simply isn’t good enough that we still don’t have the powers to reject housing that is not fit for human habitation."