Green Belt land could be built on under plans put forward by the council to tackle a “housing crisis” in the borough.

Enfield’s Local Plan – a framework that will be set up guide development decisions – explores the possibility of “managed development on a small segment of the Green Belt” in a bid to build thousands more homes.

A third of the land in Enfield is classed as Green Belt, meaning it is subject to strict planning constraints aimed at protecting open spaces.

But with the council under pressure to ramp up housebuilding to meet ambitious new targets, Green Belt sites such as Crews Hill could be earmarked for development.

Conservative leader Cllr Joanne Laban criticised the proposals and said the council should focus on developing brownfield sites in the east of the borough.

She said: “There is no need to build on the Green Belt. The council has found it really difficult to build on Meridian Water and very difficult on brownfield land.

“It is very easy to build on green belt land – but just because it is easy does not mean it is the right thing to do.”

Cllr Laban also claimed that building on the Green Belt could contravene the mayor of London’s New London Plan.

But Cllr Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for property and assets at Enfield Council, said the council had to look at ways of providing affordable homes that would enable young people to get on the housing ladder.

He said: “We will always prefer to meet Enfield’s housing needs by building on brownfield and town centre sites, but our Local Plan also needs to consider other options.

“Our Local Plan options include looking at a tiny section – approximately five to seven per cent – of Green Belt land and considering whether it may be suitable for quality and affordable homes for families.

“All options are currently on the table at this early stage of the Local Plan. We will consider all the responses to the consultation before we work up and develop our preferred options.”

The mayor of London’s New London Plan states that almost 1,900 homes need to be built in Enfield every year during the next decade.

That is a significant hike on the yearly average of 550 new homes completed in the borough over the past five years.

The £6 billion Meridian Water development will provide 10,000 new homes, while half of the housing mooted for the borough is expected to be built on small sites.

A consultation on the Local Plan will start in the next few weeks, and there will be a number of opportunities for members of the public to have their say before the plan’s adoption in 2020.

Cllr Oykener said: “I would encourage residents to take part in the consultation on the Local Plan which will go live in the coming weeks and help shape the future growth of the borough.

“The draft Local Plan is an opportunity to look at the borough holistically which is the right approach to managing growth in Enfield.”