The leader of Barnet Council says a Government target to build more than 4,000 homes every year in the borough is “too high”.

Cllr Dan Thomas (Conservative, Finchley Church End) said the council needed to be “more realistic, locally” about housing delivery at a meeting of the policy and resources committee on Wednesday (February 19).

His comments follow the approval of several large developments in the borough, including a 1,350-home scheme at North London Business Park in Brunswick Park.

Proposals drawn up by Transport for London to build flats at Finchley Central and High Barnet Underground Stations could bring further large schemes to predominantly suburban areas.

During a discussion of the council’s budget for the coming financial year, Labour leader Cllr Barry Rawlings (Coppetts) asked Cllr Thomas, who chairs the committee, for his view on the 4,126-homes-a-year target for housing delivery in Barnet.

The Government figure is significantly higher than the Mayor of London’s target for the borough, which is 2,364 homes per year as set out in the draft London Plan.

Cllr Rawlings said: “This is not just an order on Barnet, it is an order to the mayor, as well, which forces the mayor and Barnet to think in terms of building a lot higher – tower blocks, perhaps, encroaching on some of the suburbs.

“I wondered what the administration thought about a Conservative government forcing this on the borough?”

Cllr Thomas replied: “In reality, a target is a target – if we can’t hit it, we can’t hit it.

“Obviously, the Government has got confidence in Barnet. We are delivering the most homes out of any outer London borough. We are doing well, and they think we can do more.

“I think it is too high. We are not delivering that now, and we are at peak delivery.

“I think we need to be more realistic, locally.”

Cllr Thomas’s comments are another sign of disquiet among some local Conservatives with housing decisions made by their colleagues in central Government.

In January, Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers – who was environment secretary at the time – branded a fellow Government minister’s decision to allow the North London Business Park scheme to go ahead “disgraceful”.

The 1,350-home scheme was also opposed by Conservative councillors for Brunswick Park, as well as local Labour politicians.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been approached for comment.