Barnet Council has raised concerns that using a formula to calculate the local need for housing could lead to overdevelopment in the borough.

Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas said he welcomed the Government’s vision to streamline the planning process but was concerned the plans could result in overdevelopment, which would “damage the borough’s character”.

It was among the points made in the council’s response to the consultation on the Planning for the Future proposals, which have previously been heavily criticised by Barnet’s opposition groups.

The council made clear that much of what is being recommended requires further consultation, and assurances will be necessary to ensure that Barnet can remain free from overdevelopment.

Cllr Thomas (Conservative, Finchley Church End) said: “I welcome the Government’s vision in streamlining and modernising the planning process. We absolutely agree that the system needs changes to make it more dynamic and fit for purpose.

“A concern of mine and of communities across Barnet is that if these plans are adopted, Barnet will be left vulnerable to overdevelopment, which would damage the borough’s character and impact the quality of life our residents enjoy.

“Barnet has consistently built over 2,300 new homes a year over the past three years – more than almost any other local authority in the country – and we are working on building a new town in the borough. Our new local plan will set more ambitious targets, but they are realistic: set by those who know the area, not by algorithm.

“I look forward to further dialogue with the Government on the white paper, and I know that by working together we can build a modern planning process that works for our residents.”

The Planning for the Future proposals, unveiled in August, could lead to the biggest shake-up of the country’s planning system in decades.

They could see applications based on pre-approved ‘design codes’ in areas earmarked for ‘growth’ given automatic outline permission, while areas designated for ‘renewal’ would see a presumption in favour of some developments.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the housing formula would provide a guide to the number of homes needed in an area rather than set targets. It is designed to help build 300,000 new homes each year in the UK by the mid-2020s.

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “We’re reforming the country’s outdated planning system to deliver the high-quality, sustainable homes communities need, placing environmental protection, community engagement and sustainability at the heart of our reforms.

“It has been over two years since the current housing formula was introduced – we are making sure it delivers the new homes the country needs and where we need them most, with the views of local people at the heart of these reforms.

“We are now reviewing the responses to the consultation and will be setting out our next steps in due course.”

The consultation on the Planning for the Future white paper ended on October 29.