A decision to approve plans to build 49 new homes in a field where protected species live has been delayed so that the site can be visited first.

Hertfordshire County Council wants to construct a mix of new houses and apartments, along with parking spaces and landscaping on the land to the south of Foxgrove Path and Heysham Drive, in South Oxhey.

However, at a Three Rivers planning meeting on December 14, committee members agreed for the site to be visited before a decision is made.

Both applications will then be presented at the next planning committee meeting on January 25.

Nicola Ford, who lives in Letchworth Close, South Oxhey, previously called the plans “outrageous” as she felt the bats and newts living there may be threatened.

She said: “The plans are ludicrous. They are getting rid of amenities such as pubs and bus links and just replacing them with more houses.

“We understand there is a need for housing but it is becoming a concrete jungle and it is outrageous.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: "The council is seeking outline planning permission to develop land adjoining Foxgrove Path, South Oxhey, for 49 dwellings comprising a range of detached and semi-detached properties and a single two storey block of apartments. The application went before Three Rivers District Council’s planning committee in December with an officer recommendation for approval but councillors deferred the decision.

"This site was removed from the Green Belt and allocated for housing by Three Rivers District Council within its adopted Site Allocation Local Development Document (SALDD, 2014). The SALDD was subject to public consultation and an examination by a planning inspector before being adopted. As an allocated housing site, residential development is acceptable in principle and is a key component of the Council’s strategy for delivering new and improved housing within the district.

"Assessments which were undertaken by the county council identify that the site is of limited ecological value. In 2017, a survey identified bat activity on the site boundaries but showed that the buildings and trees were not considered to support roosting features. Hertfordshire Ecology has been consulted on the application and has not objected to the site’s development. It has asked for conditions to be added to the granting of permission to minimise the impact of construction activities on biodiversity at and adjacent to the site, and also to require a biodiversity enhancement and management plan to be submitted. The county council has agreed to the planning conditions proposed by Three Rivers District Council."