Building on the green belt would not help to solve the housing shortage in Enfield, a countryside lobby group has claimed.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says building on the green belt would only provide low-density housing that would not be classed as affordable.

Working with Enfield Roadwatch and The Enfield Society, the CPRE claims to have identified space for 37,000 homes on previously developed land – meaning building on the green belt would not be necessary.

Enfield Council has proposed building on small segments of the green belt – which covers around a third of the borough – in a bid to more than triple the rate of housebuilding.

Land near Crews Hill station is one area that could be built on under proposals contained in the council’s Local Plan.

But Alice Roberts of CPRE London said building housing at Crews Hill would be the “worst possible option” for Enfield residents.

She said: “It cannot provide affordable housing, would mean more congestion and traffic, and would destroy a cluster of much-loved businesses visited by people from all over north London and beyond – an important piece of Enfield’s economy which cannot be replaced.

“The type of low-density housing which is typical of green belt developments will contribute little towards the borough’s housing target.

“Building on Enfield’s green belt would mean giving up large swathes of valuable green land for very few new homes – and those will predominantly be expensive homes.”

The CPRE says the council should focus on building “high-quality, high-density” developments in areas like Southbury as a means of addressing the housing shortage.

Enfield has built an average of 550 new homes per year over the past five years – but the Mayor of London’s draft new London Plan expects 1,876 homes to be built each year between 2019 and 2029.

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Enfield Council’s cabinet member for property and assets, said the Local Plan contained a commitment to aim for 50 per cent of homes on new developments to be affordable.

He said: “We will always prefer to meet Enfield’s housing needs by building on brownfield and town centre sites, and our Local Plan process will be considering all realistic and deliverable options available to us.

“The £6 billion Meridian Water brownfield regeneration will account for a significant number of new and affordable homes and jobs.

“Equally, the borough is expected to deliver half of its new housing target on what are known as small brownfield sites and these are sites that can deliver up to 25 units across the borough.

“But these sites alone will be enough to meet the housing need. That is why we are concentrating on town centres and transport hubs. That’s why the Local Plan explores the possibility of whether plan-led development on designated sites is an appropriate and proportionate option.

“A number of transport hub areas are identified, including Edmonton Green, Enfield Town and Crews Hill stations.”

Cllr Oykener promised all responses to a public consultation on the Local Plan, which closed yesterday (Friday, March 1), would be “carefully analysed and considered”.