Concerns have been raised about a consultation on housebuilding including emojis.

Around 150 sites in the St Albans district were put forward for potential development during a six-week local plan consultation.

The sites will now be looked at by St Albans District Council to see if they are suitable for housing, commercial or other uses.

The council is drawing up a local plan to identify land for development from 2020 to 2036.

It is working to a Government proposal that 913 new homes a year - 14,608 in total – should be built during that period.

An update on the consultation, which took place earlier this year, will be given to the council’s planning policy committee on Tuesday.

Tim Boatswain, chairman of the St Albans Civic Society feared the use of emojis in the consultation would result in people “not taking it seriously”.

He said: “We welcome the fact that everyone is being consulted and that is a positive but we felt the way it was designed with emoticons, we did not feel that people would not take the decision very seriously.”

Eric Roberts, a member of St Albans Civic Society, added: “The consultation lacked a certain amount of gravitas.

“It was important to get as many people to respond as possible but it seemed a bit light for such an important subject.”

Tracy Harvey, head of planning for St Albans District Council, responded: “We made a major effort to reach out to the whole community as we felt it was important that people of all ages and backgrounds had their say.

“In doing so, we used both traditional and modern methods with the latter including social media posts, a YouTube video and some emojis.”

“We think this approach has been justified by the vastly improved response that we received.

"We have had more than 2,400 responses – well over twice the figure gained during a similar exercise four years ago.”