An under-fire councillor has blamed trebled housing targets from the government after a decision to approve a 28-storey tower received a huge public backlash.

Watford Borough Council has been heavily criticised after councillors passed plans for 1,214 homes on the current TK Maxx and The Range site in St Albans Road site in Watford on Monday.

Moustafa Alam, who spoke at the planning committee meeting, accused the council of "not listening".

The plans by developer Berkeley Homes include towers of 28, 22, and 20 storeys, as well as a new primary school, nursery, and a GP provision.

A little over 200 parking spaces are proposed, with 107 affordable homes.

Cllr Iain Sharpe was one of six Liberal Democrat councillors who voted in favour of the scheme and faced a backlash on social media.

Cllr Sharpe, who is responsible for development and regeneration, said: "In the last three years, the Government has trebled Watford's housing targets from 260 a year to nearly 800, which means that we, like other similar councils, are having to accept bigger sizes of developments and taller buildings than previously.

"The Government wants a massive expansion of housebuilding, prioritising land in existing towns and cities rather than green belt releases.

"Developments like these are an inevitable consequence of that policy.

"In light of this, the council's approach is to try to make the best use of sustainable sites like this close to public transport, while trying to protect existing residential neighbourhoods and green space."

The Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has previously described Watford's housing targets as "unrealistic".

He wrote to the Government at the end of last year to express these concerns, but it is understood the council has not heard back.

Several tweets suggest the council's decision to approve the plans were unpopular:

The council's latest draft local plan, which sets out to identify future development sites for homes and businesses over the next 16 years, says the council believes it can only deliver around 460 homes a year - and not 800.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has been approached for comment.