MORE than 100 council-protected trees will be chopped down to make way for a massive development in Nascot.

Watford Borough Council granted the controversial development permission on Wednesday.

Permission for the proposal means Barratt Homes can now redevelop the Willow Grange site off Church Road, Watford, which is currently the headquarters of British Waterways.

The existing office building will be renovated and a number of new buildings constructed to provide a total of 174 homes with 190 parking spaces.

The development would see 106 trees, out of 230 covered by a tree preservation order (TPO), lost.

A large number of residents attended a meeting of Watford Borough Council's development control committee on Wednesday to protest about aspects of the development.

Some held placards reading "Nascot Wood or Nascot Woodless?".

David Silver spoke on their behalf, raising concerns about the number of trees being lost, the height of some of the buildings, the location of bin stores and the inclusion of a loop road in the plans.

He said: "We're not opposed to the principle of a residential development on the site.

"But we would like to see the plans amended.

"What's the value of a TPO if it can just be ignored?"

He said residents were concerned about disturbance, noise and light pollution associated with the loop road.

The road's inclusion is also be responsible for the loss of the majority of the trees on the site.

Further to these concerns, Councillor Andrew Mortimer said the number of parking spaces would be inadequate for the development and could see Manor Road and Grange Close bearing the brunt of the overspill.

Council planning officer Paul Baxter said 81 trees would be planted to mitigate the loss of those covered by the TPO, but admitted most of these would be in the development's car parks.

He said the inclusion of the loop road in the plan was recommended but not required by Hertfordshire Highways and was in line with government policy, and low-level lighting with appropriate shields was covered by a standard planning condition.

He said government planning policy also says councils should not seek to impose greater numbers of parking spaces on a development than the developer themselves thinks appropriate.

During the meeting representatives of Barratt Homes suggested they might consider moving the bin store, however the committees decision to grant planning permission means the council cannot force them to do this.

Planning permission was granted by the committee with five votes in favour, two against and two abstentions.

As the result was announced in the council chamber cries of "disgusting" were heard from members of the public.