CONTROVERSIAL plans to build up to 111 homes, significantly increasing the size of a village, have been approved after a heated debate.

The outline plans will see a new housing development built on land south of Monmouth Road in Raglan, including up to 39 affordable homes, a community orchard and children's play area.

But the plans have proved highly contentious, with hundreds of objections, a protest march and public meetings being held.

And at a Monmouthshire planning committee meeting on Tuesday, campaigners packed into the public gallery holding up signs against the proposals.

Colwyn Knight, from the Raglan Village Action Group, called the plans a "monstrous suburban sprawl" and warned that the area could not sustain the development.

Ward councillor for Raglan, Penny Jones, also spoke against the plans, saying there were other sites which were more suitable and would put less pressure on traffic issues.

Cllr Jones claimed the development would increase the number of homes in the village by 36 per cent.

"Raglan lacks the infrastructure and opportunities to accommodate a large development which threatens to overwhelm and alter this village status," Cllr Jones told the meeting.

Cllr Giles Howard spoke out against the scale of the proposals, saying it was 'disproportionate' to the size of the village.

He said: "I could perhaps stomach a smaller proposal but to propose a scheme that is nearly three times greater than the Local Development Plan allocation makes a mockery of the planning process and consultation and effectively sticks two fingers up at all the people who are attending today to show their concern."

But Gareth Barton, the agent for the applicant, said the plans had been "sensitively designed" and would help meet a "significant shortfall" of housing in Raglan.

Cllr Roger Harris, also speaking in support, said the plans could help create a more sustainable community.

He added: "I wonder how many people in Raglan who have got sons, daughters or grandchildren secretly would really like this to go ahead because their children and grandchildren might stand a chance of being able to stay in a community that is by definition then much more sustainable."

Cllr Phil Murphy said that he 'reluctantly' supported the plans, adding that sometimes it was necessary to make "bold moves whether we like them or not."

But Cllr Ruth Edwards, chairwoman of the committee, said she could not support the plans due to concerns over highways safety.

Cllr Howard moved for the plans to be refused, but councillors went against the proposal, narrowly voting to approve the plans.

Outline plans to build up to 291 homes on land near Portskewett and up to 130 homes in Caldicot were also approved.