Outline planning permission for up to 83 dwellings in Codicote has been approved by North Herts Council's Planning Control Committee.

The application by Phillips Planning Services Ltd, on behalf of Warden Developments, will see up to 83 homes on land adjacent to Oaklea - south of Cowards Lane, nearby to Hollards Farm.

All detailed matters are reserved, except access. Access to site will come off the B656, with the realignment of Cowards Lane to have a junction with the new access road.

Forty per cent of the homes will be affordable.

Access to the site - which will include visibility splays - was discussed by members, with concerns about the narrow lane off High Street.

Councillor David Levett raised concerns about the closest bus stops for pedestrian access, claiming the stops would not be a "sustainable walking distance" for residents.

Councillor Simon Bloxham added: "I do think we need housing and the Green Belt is unfortunately something we need to look at. My main issue with this is access on to that main road. I think it's horrendous.

"If you'd had the unfortunate time of coming along there at rush hour, particularly in the evening, good luck if you're coming off a side street to that main road because it is particularly poor.

"And it if were to go ahead I would like some specific measures to make that safe because I do believe we're looking at a safety issue for this particular area of the development."

This was echoed by ward councillor for Codicote, Ian Moody, who said: "That junction is absolutely horrendous. I do consider the entrance very very dangerous."

The application received 142 objections and one comment in support during the consultation period.

A speaker on behalf of neighbours spoke in objection of the application, citing reasons such as harm to the Green Belt and village as a whole.

In support of the application, speaker Paul Watson said: "It is clear that the site occupies a sustainable location, and that development here would deliver a high quality environment for future occupiers, including the full policy compliment of affordable housing.

"In this context, we do hope that members will be able to support the officer's recommendation and grant the application."

The land was earmarked for housing development in the council's emerging Local Plan - the examination for which has just ended.

In regards to Green Belt, Inspector Simon Berkeley said in his final report on the Local Plan: "I consider that the exceptional circumstances necessary to alter the Green Belt boundaries to facilitate the allocation of the housing sites concerned do exist both in principle and in each individual case. This aspect, therefore, should not stand in the way of their allocation.”