A bid to build up to 37 homes on green belt was labelled “environmental vandalism” before being comprehensively rejected by a council.

The planning committee at Hertsmere Borough Council threw out plans to build on land off Harris Lane in Shenley.

More than 1,200 objections had been made to the outlining planning application by developer Griggs Homes.

Griggs argued there were “very special circumstances” to allow permission but councillors raised fears granting permission could set a precedent for green belt development to take place more freely in Hertsmere.

The applicant cited a "shortfall" in housing supply in the borough and the fact nearly 40% of the homes would be designated as affordable as reasons why its plans should be approved. Initial plans sought to build up to 46 homes altogether.

Borehamwood Times: An outline of the proposed development siteAn outline of the proposed development site (Image: Google Maps)

But speaking at the meeting on October 20, Rachel Shaw, from the Save Hertsmere campaign group, said: “It’s particularly disturbing that the applicant thinks that the provision of a few so-called affordable houses constitutes the very special circumstances required for development in the green belt,” she said.

“I’m sure the councillors will agree with me that nothing can be called ‘very special’ when that could be said about any development on the green belt field.”

She added the development could spoil views across the countryside from nearby footpaths.

Borehamwood Times: The field where the homes have been proposedThe field where the homes have been proposed (Image: Newsquest)

Shenley Conservative ward councillor Anthony Spencer spoke as a community advocate, urging the committee to reject the plans, describing them as "environmental vandalism".

He added: “If this proposal is recommended to be built on, no green belt land will be safe in our borough.”

Borehamwood Times: Harris Lane by the proposed development siteHarris Lane by the proposed development site (Image: Newsquest)

During a debate on the plans, Borehamwood Labour committee member Jeremy Newmark said: "This is a case of green belt land in Shenley that there is a rush to reject – in my view, rightly so.

"Green belt land in other parts of the borough is just as valuable and should be protected to the same extent.

"It’s clear there is a mood on the committee to reject this evening, I think it’s equally important that members should take a strategic approach and look at the lessons we can learn from this application."

The committee voted to support the council officer's recommendation to refuse the scheme.