Councillors have stalled on whether to approve or refuse an extra 53 flats at Watford's largest redevelopment.

Watford Borough Council's planning committee met on Tuesday night to discuss Berkley Homes' latest proposal for its St Albans Road site.

The developer, which received permission in 2019 for 1,214 homes, wants to change the layout of four of 11 approved buildings, taking the total number of homes at the former Range site to 1,267.

The plans would not change the height or scale of any of the towers, which include blocks of 28, 24, and 22 storeys, planning documents state.

Watford Observer: A CGI bird's eye view of the approved scheme from 2019. Credit: Berkeley HomesA CGI bird's eye view of the approved scheme from 2019. Credit: Berkeley Homes

Instead, Berkeley plans to turn some of the approved one-bedroom homes into studio flats but says the number of three-beds would be unchanged.

However, committee chairman Peter Jeffree said some members had concerns about the studio flats.

After the live public stream of the meeting failed due to technical difficulties, Cllr Jeffree told the Observer: "Five members of the committee [of nine] were minded to refuse but they were advised that they did not have a valid reason in line with council planning policy.

"There had been a great deal of discussion and the main issue was the number of studio flats being proposed. But we don’t have a planning policy around the ratio of studio flats.

"We can't refuse applications without a valid reason. The only way out was to defer the scheme so it goes back to council officers to discuss with the developer and see, in light of the committee's comments, whether any further amendments could be made to satisfy the committee."

Watford Observer: The Eight Gardens construction site in St Albans RoadThe Eight Gardens construction site in St Albans Road

Following the deferral decision, Berkeley Homes' application, which had been recommended for approval, is likely to return at a later date. The developer could also appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on grounds of non-determination by the council.

Berkeley Homes' development, which is called The Eight Gardens, will include at least 1,214 homes as well as commercial units, a pub/bar, takeaway, energy centre, and outdoor square.

There are also plans for a primary school and nursery but full planning permission is still required.