CONTENTIOUS plans to build 15 homes in Devauden have been approved by councillors despite concerns over pedestrian safety.

The development off Well Lane includes nine affordable homes, 60 per cent of the development, as well as a new access road for vehicles and a community orchard.

However a footpath providing a pedestrian link to the village is not included in the plans, to the anger of objectors.

Cllr Andy Williams, of Devauden Community Council, said the omission of the footpath was 'inexcusable.'

"We do not think in the 21st century we should be building developments where a part of the community is effectively orphaned from the rest of the community by a major road.

"If you look at the plans there is zero provision for any safe access for pedestrians and cyclists."

Howell Williams, speaking on behalf of objectors, said he was concerned the plans could change the character of the site from rural to urban.

Mr Williams said there would be a "significant visual impact" from the housing development.

However a speaker for the applicant pointed out the site is allocated for housing in the Monmouthshire's Local Development Plan.

The applicant's agent also said the plans included a "safer route into the village" via a new pedestrian area at the top of Well Lane.

Cllr Roger Harris spoke in support of the plans, saying that every area has to contribute to the "vast shortage of affordable housing" in the county.

"It will broaden the character of the village by allowing people who could not possibly afford to get anywhere near the place to come and increase the diversity there," he said.

Ward councillor Bob Greenland pointed out that the scheme proposed improvements to highways safety and would help meet the need for affordable housing, arguing there were now few housing sites in the county without disadvantages.

But Cllr Giles Howard said the plans could risk the safety of pedestrians by asking them to walk on a road.

Roger Hoggins, head of operations, said signage would be introduced to highlight the risk to pedestrians.

And Cllr Alan Davies said several rural villages have similar layouts.

A proposal to defer the plans, from Cllr Howard, was voted against by councillors, before the application was approved.