A leading housing association boss has warned that the government’s push to keep raising housing densities was a “catastrophe waiting to happen”.

June Barnes, chief executive of East Thames Housing Group, said last week that the rash of housing schemes of this kind in the pipeline threatened to repeat the high-rise disasters of the 1960s.

“We are building not just at high density, but at hyper-density,” she said. She added that a failure to provide a sufficient number of larger units would lead to severe overcrowding as families outgrew the homes they were living in.

Referring to an argument advanced by Richard Rogers, Barnes added that it was inappropriate to cite areas such as Notting Hill and Kensington in west London as models of high-density development.

She said these areas tended to be lived in by relatively high-income earners who were out at work during the day and able to get away on a regular basis.

Barnes said that housing for low-income earners at the same density would lead to problems.

Her comments echo concerns voiced by housebuilders that the pressure to increase housing density is resulting in theunder-provision of larger family homes.