More than 30 homes could be built on a Green Belt site next to a former dump.

On Wednesday Epping Forest District Council's planning committee west approved an application to build 33 homes at the Former Chimes Garden Centre on Old Nazeing Road.

The proposals are the fourth dealing with the site to go before the council in recent years.

While the first was deemed improper due to its lack of affordable housing on site and location in a flood zone, the second and third for 26 and 17 houses receptively were approved.

Neither was built however, as the developer realised making the contaminated land safe would render the project economically unviable.

Now a fourth application for 33 homes has been approved.

At the meeting Councillor Syd Stavrou said: "It seems to me that they are trying to cram as many buildings as possible onto the site in order to maximise its profitability.

"I understand the reasons for that because contamination is very expensive and also it does provide housing that we have already allocated or taken into consideration in finding our numbers.

"I wouldn't like to keep seeing this coming back with every increasing numbers as its a waste of people's time as much as anything else."

If the developers go ahead with this application they will not have to remove the landfill.

However, officers studying the site explained that "significant work is still needed to ensure that the new houses are safe from gas and other forms of contamination from the adjoining landfill."

The land directly above the buried rubbish will be used as an "amenity area" for residents once hardstanding is removed and landscaping has been completed.

The report states: "It would clearly be unacceptable to allow the development of just the non landfill area of the site and leave the remaining area of the unsightly hard surfaced previously developed land in close proximity to the new dwellings and with potential long term contamination issues that could impact on the residents of the new properties."

The proposals are for four one-bed flats, one two-bed flat, 23 three-bed flats and five four-bed flats.

In total, five three-bed flats will be affordable, almost three times fewer than the 40 per cent suggested in government guidelines.