“Brazen” plans for 75 more flats at a 1,260-home scheme have been branded “laughable” despite the developer’s reason.

Berkeley Homes maintains that its proposed changes to the Eight Gardens scheme, off St Albans Road, are a “direct response” to emerging regulation, but locals have questioned the claim.

The company submitted a planning application to vary permission already granted three years ago, which allowed 1,214 residential units across 11 buildings - including towers of 28, 24, and 22 storeys.

It now wants to add six new floors to the building known as N3 and two more to N4.

More detail on the specifics of the proposal available in our previous article here

Watford Observer: A CGI giving a bird's eye view of the development as originally proposed.A CGI giving a bird's eye view of the development as originally proposed. (Image: Berkeley Homes)

The developer explained that it needs to include a second stair core in the buildings, because government fire safety regulations will likely soon require second staircases in buildings above 18 metres.

North Watford Labour councillor Asif Khan said: “Yet again, the brazenness of the developers knows no bounds, as they dare to build even taller shadows over our already sun-starved streets.”

He claimed that instead of creating homes, the development was about “lining pockets” and highlighted local disapproval.

Watford Observer: Cllr Asif Khan.Cllr Asif Khan. (Image: Cllr Asif Khan.)

Describing the latest news as “a step too far”, he added: “It’s high time that developers listen and adhere to the agreed plans, rather than soaring greedily towards the skies.

“The sky is not the limit when it comes to our town's wellbeing.”

Local driving instructor Sophie Stuchfield said she had previously been in touch with the developer about the lack of parking at the flats and felt that potentially adding even more is “laughable”.

“Put in an extra staircase if you need," she said. "But why do you need more apartments for that?”

The instructor added that despite homes near train stations often not having assigned parking spaces, due to transport links, she often finds herself teaching residents there who plan to own cars anyway.

Watford Observer: Cllr Ian Stotesbury.Cllr Ian Stotesbury. (Image: Watford Liberal Democrats)

Liberal Democrat MP candidate Ian Stotesbury, whose Callowland council ward contains the development site, acknowledged that “the new application secures more family-sized social rented homes for Watford but does see some of the shorter blocks increased in height”.

He said that the council continues to make the case to government that Watford needs “real investment” in rail and buses to go in line with increasing housing targets.

“We always try to get the best that we can from developers who propose building but the national planning system doesn’t give enough say to local communities,” he added.

Watford Observer: The Eight Gardens.The Eight Gardens. (Image: Marjut Liverpool/Stephen Danzig, both via Watford Observer Camera Club)

Project website available to view here

A spokesperson from Berkeley Homes said: “Following the government’s ongoing consultation, we have submitted an application to amend our Phase 2 proposals as a direct response to the evolving building design standards, fire safety guidance and changing housing market.

“The amendments include moderate height increases to buildings N3 and N4 to facilitate the delivery of second stair cores in all Phase 2 residential buildings, 75 new homes of which 42 will be affordable, the delivery of new residential amenity spaces and an increase in the number of family homes being delivered for Watford.”

They encouraged those looking for information on the proposals to contact the Berkeley Homes team on 0800 772 0475 or to visit the project website.