Enfield Council says its flagship regeneration project will provide the number of homes originally planned – despite big cuts to housing on key brownfield sites.

The number of homes on part of the £6 billion Meridian Water scheme has been slashed from 10,000 to just 5,000 after the council backed down on plans to build on strategic industrial land (SIL).

It has also reduced the estimated number of jobs provided on that part of the scheme from 6,000 to 1,500.

The changes have been made to the Edmonton Leeside Area Action Plan (ELAAP) following a ruling by a Government planning inspector.

The council insists the Meridian Water project will still provide 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs, with other sites coming forward to fill the gaps left by the ELAAP decision.

But Cllr Edward Smith, Conservative member for Cockfosters, described the news as a “major setback” for Meridian Water.

He said: “The intention was to put homes on strategic industrial land. The Greater London Authority will not allow that until the council provides substitute land.

“I don’t know whether the council can provide alternative sites. They have had two to three years to come up with that.

“It is a body blow for their plans. Whether they can revise it remains to be seen.

“If we have to stick with 5,000 homes, that will have major implications for the viability of the project. That is where the money comes from.

“The council has spent hundreds of millions of pounds buying sites – including industrial sites. There is an issue about that in the longer term for the whole of the project.”

Cllr Smith raised concerns that losing “a third of the land” could affect the design of the project – leading to more high-rise developments at Meridian Water.

He added that Conservative leader Cllr Joanne Laban had raised concerns over SIL more than three years ago at full council.

Cllr Smith said: “They just told us over and over again, ‘this is a minor problem we will overcome’.

“We have now reached the point where the council has been forced to accept that the SIL issue is of crucial importance to the whole project.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Meridian Water is a £6 billion, 25-year London regeneration programme led by Enfield Council, which will bring 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs to Enfield.

“The Edmonton Leeside Area Action Plan is not the full Meridian Water plan to deliver these 10,000 homes over a 25-year period but is an action plan relating to the delivery of homes in the Edmonton Leeside Area over a shorter 15-year period.

“There will be other plans which will feed into to the overall Meridian Water development over the lifetime of the project to make up the balance of 10,000 homes.

“Enfield Council is fully supportive of the industrial designation given to areas of Meridian Water as part of the Edmonton Leeside Area Action Plan as it gives us the opportunity to raise revenue and facilitate employment opportunities in the short to medium term.

“However, the full scale and scope of this ground-breaking project including the delivery of at least 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs over the 25-year delivery period remains unchanged.”