Ian Roxburgh, Wimpey's managing director of land management, hit back at Prescott's comments. "A requirement that new housing be high density may simply drive many buyers into the secondhand market," said Roxburgh.
"If urban regeneration is about anything, it is about attracting families back to urban areas. Terraced houses with communal gardens may not be the best way to do this. Families are concerned with security, privacy and safety. High-density may well be better suited to single people. However, with wealth increasing, even this sector of the market is chasing 1200-1500 ft2 of property to provide a gym, home office, barbecue and car parking.
In a veiled attack on Lord Rogers' urban taskforce, which suggested that British cities be designed along the lines of high-density cities such as Barcelona. Roxburgh said: "It has to be remembered that Barcelona has a very different climate from London. People in Barcelona spend more time outdoors. In the UK, the climate is not so favourable and so people tend to spend more time indoors. As a result, people in the UK tend to want more space indoors." Speaking at the Fabian Society last week, Prescott said: "I am declaring war on the wasteful use of land. The Georgian terraces of Bath, Harrogate and Islington are four times less wasteful in their use of land than modern-day Brookside Close-style housing. If Victorian London had been developed in the same way as we have built houses over the past decade, London would be more than twice its present size." The government is scheduled to produce an urban white paper outlining proposals for inner-city housing and planning later this year.