Councillors tonight approved plans for a major development including 675 homes on Cane Hill.

Croydon Council's strategic licensing committee gave the green light to Barratt's controversial proposals, which would see family houses, flats and offices built at the former site of Cane Hill mental hospital in Coulsdon.

The developers won full planning permission for the first 187 homes and outline planning permission for the rest of the scheme, despite hundreds of objections and concerns raised by several residents' groups.

The 551 objections cited wide-ranging concerns including the loss of green land, traffic problems, the level of affordable housing and the potential impact on the town of such a large development.

The committee also received a petition signed by 944 people objecting to the plans.

Councillors heard the Cane Hill development would be comprised of six areas - Ridgeway, Village Green, Village Green Fringe, Farthings, Woodlands and Gateway - each with a different character.

Ben Ford, representing Barratt, described the the site's design as "unique" and "unprecedented".

He said: "The site is designed to become a big playground. "This is about making a useful and sustainable development."

Tempers flared in a packed public gallery when committee chair Coun David Osland told the meeting only six minutes would be allocated to for objectors to speak.

Six objectors among members of the public were ultimately allowed to speak.

Rita Barfoot, representing Coulsdon West Residents' Association, criticised Barratt's "flawed" traffic flow assessment and "inadequate" parking provision, and also called for a road link to the A23 to tackle congestion.

She told councillors: "You have a choice tonight. "You can approve the application and risk the alienation and anger of the entire west Coulsdon community, or you can object or defer and bring the discussion back to the stakeholders."

Gill Coleman, representing Chipstead Residents' Association said legal action would be the "only course if action" open to the group if councillors approved the application.

Labour councillor Paul Scott called for the application to be deferred to address concerns about the use of Green Belt land and traffic problems.

But a majority of six councillors backed the a motion to approve the application.

They also gave the green light to a new supermarket at the former site of the Lion Green Road car park, despite claims it would leave Coulsdon with too few parking spaces.

The store will be let by Waitrose.