Campaigners have been left “deeply disappointed” as a 135-home development in the green belt was approved.

Residents had fought all the way to prevent the scheme at the Rectory Farm site in Kings Langley going ahead with 173 objections going in and a fund to fight an appeal raising thousands.

They feared losing the protected space between towns could lead to Kings Langley practically merging with Nash Mills and Abbots Langley and therefore losing its character as a village.

Despite an apparent victory when Dacorum Borough Council rejected the proposal in October last year, on Friday (May 9) the Planning Inspectorate allowed the appeal and so the scheme can now go ahead subject to conditions.

Kings Langley and District Residents Association said: “This is deeply disappointing given the renewed emphasis on protecting the green belt around London.

“Instead, the planning inspector has chosen to allow the appeal based on just the housing numbers.

Watford Observer: The Rectory Farm site.The Rectory Farm site. (Image: Kings Langley & District residents Association)

“Kings Langley has taken a large number of new homes over the last few years which has already put incredible strain on the local infrastructure.”

To consider the appeal, the Planning Inspectorate visited the site on April 8 and 10 and held a public inquiry between April 9 and April 12.

In their decision, the inspector attached “very substantial weight” to the benefits from more housing, including 54 designated affordable units, due to “chronic under supply and staggering levels of affordability” in the area.

The site had been included in an earlier draft of Dacorum’s local plan but was later removed. However, the Planning Inspectorate said this “carries very limited weight at this time” as a more formal version of the emerging local plan is still yet to be published.

Watford Observer: The Rectory Farm site from above.The Rectory Farm site from above. (Image: KL&DRA)

A spokesperson for the developers, Cala Homes and Angle Property, said they are “pleased” to have received full approval for the scheme which “will help to address the demand for housing in the local area".

“Our approved plans include a new community hub providing a café and farm shop, workshop, orchards, allotments, repair shed and cycle hub, which will be run by local charity Sunnyside Rural Trust, who support young people and adults with learning difficulties,” the spokesperson added.

“A new country park of approximately five acres with play areas, footpaths and viewing platforms over the canal will also be provided for all to enjoy.”

Dacorum Borough Council declined to comment on the decision.