A proposed development of 125 homes, including blocks of flats up to six storeys high, was approved despite strong opposition.

Neighbours fear the scheme, which developer Sanctuary Affordable Housing are set to build on the Goss site in Walthamstow, will put a further strain on already-stretched nurseries and doctors' surgeries in the area.

But Waltham Forest Council's planning committee passed the plans by four votes to three at the town hall on Wednesday, controversially discussing the proposal earlier than planned, despite residents who wished to speak against the plans not having arrived.

Speaking against the application, Chapel End ward councillor Kieran Falconer said: “The proposed development is monstrously large. If you estimated two people per bedroom – not a definition of overcrowding - you are looking at nearly 550 people.

"This is far too great an amount of people for the area to sustain. [This application] will tear the heart out of this community.”

Neighbours living in Fulbourne Road and Clifford Road have complained of privacy issues and loss of light, while in Victoria Road two and three-storey homes will back onto people’s gardens.

Carol Minto, of Victoria Road, said there is a sense of disbelief at the development being approved.

The 39-year-old said: “As a community we’re blown away. We’re absolutely stunned, the council has sold us short.

“We’re in dire need of good nurseries and doctors’ surgeries, we’re bursting at the seams, but this will make it even harder to support the number of people.”

Sanctuary hopes the flats will address the shortage of housing issue in the borough, with 24,000 people on the housing waiting list.

Half the planned homes are desribed as 'affordable' and the developer has pledged to provide £500,000 for local infrastructure.

A total of £175,000 will go on healthcare and £429,395 on education improvements.

The planning committee agreed with council officers that the money should address infrastructure issues, and said the development will bring much-needed regeneration to the area.