George Wimpey among those who say fears of "urban sprawl" are unfounded.

Leading businesses and charities have denounced the Campaign to Protect Rural England's new countryside report and have called for a stop to scaremongering tactics.

The Campaign for More & Better Homes, which includes the CBI, Unison, Shelter and George Wimpey, said the suggestion that building homes for those in need will create a “tidal wave of urban sprawl” was unfounded.

The group slammed the CPRE’s argument that more houses would “concrete over the countryside” as fundamentally flawed. It said that even if 36,000 new homes were built each year, this would increase the developed land mass by only 0.4%.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: “It is no surprise that the CPRE has once again resorted to scaremongering. The truth is that the UK is in the midst of a housing crisis.”