A proposal to convert an office building into flats has been put on hold because of concerns about affordable housing provision.

A developer was seeking permission from Hertsmere Borough Council to turn and extend Prestige House in Bushey into 20 flats.

The plans are for 11 studio flats nine one-bed flats, with 26 parking spaces.

None of the 20 flats in Melbourne Road were proposed to be affordable which concerned the council's planning committee when they met last night (Wednesday).

The applicant, known as Mr De Barra, had submitted a viability assessment which concluded any affordable housing would make his scheme economically unviable.

But it was said in the committee report that an entirely private scheme is also economically unviable - a claim which has been endorsed by council-commissioned property regeneration consultants Aspinall Verdi, which scrutinised the viability report.

Aspinall Verdi did recommend the council seek "further reasoning and justification from the applicant" regarding some of the specific economic numbers put forward in the scheme.

Labour planning committee member Cllr Jeremy Newmark said in the meeting: "I agree with Aspinall Verdi's recommendation for the council to go back to the applicants and request further information...this is an area that desperately needs affordable housing.

"I don’t understand why we pay experts like Aspinall Verdi to assess things and make recommendations to us and then ignore their recommendations."

Cllr Newmark proposed to defer the application until the council acts on Aspinall Verdi's recommendation, which was unanimously agreed by the committee.

The applicant was not present at the meeting to respond to queries relating to affordable housing raised by Cllr Newmark and fellow committee member Cllr Glenn Briski.

Earlier in the meeting, Bushey St James Conservative councillor Anne Swerling spoke against the application in her position as a community advocate.

She raised concerns about affordable housing, parking and amenity space.

She said: "This is an ideal spot for affordable housing but there is none which is a very sorry state of affairs", later adding it was "disappointing" no amenity space had been allocated on-site, and raised concerns about existing "major traffic and parking problems" in Melbourne Road.

This site already has prior approval granted to convert Prestige Road into 20 flats but permission is needed for proposed extensions to the building.

In the committee report, the council recognised the lack of affordable housing provision for this particular scheme and is looking at potentially reviewing how it deals with affordable housing provision as a whole for future applications across Hertsmere, with the view of ensuring greater provision or financial contributions.

Full details of the application can be found on the council planning portal. The reference is 21/1338/FUL