"Garden grabbing" to build new houses will "scar and degrade the look and very soul of neighbourhoods" across Bromley.

That's the view of Bromley Council leader, Cllr Colin Smith in response to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's Draft London Plan.

The plan states that statutory housing targets should be more than doubled, partly through legalising the building of homes in small sites, including gardens.

But Cllr Smith said: “Whilst we will consider the detail of what is being proposed very carefully, before responding formally as part of the Mayor of London’s consultation process, at first glance, aspects of his Draft London Plan represent extremely bad news for Bromley.

“Whilst the Mayor has made an indicative commitment to protect the green belt, in line with Bromley Council’s long standing policy on the subject, which should in fairness be acknowledged and even applauded, the recent proposal that statutory housing targets should be more than doubled and that ‘garden grabbing’ should now be legalised and indeed even actively encouraged to facilitate it, raises the very real threat of uncontrollable and inappropriate development of a type and nature which will scar and degrade the look and very soul of neighbourhoods across our Borough forever.

“All of this with no real thought given, or methodology worked through, as to how to pay for all the necessary infrastructure, schools, doctors’ surgeries and dentists, to support so many extra people moving in.

“Hopefully what we have before us might yet be scaled back as part of the consultation process and Bromley Council will be actively encouraging the powers that be at City Hall to think in such terms over coming months.”