Conservative opposition leader Kevin Davis has denied doing a “u-turn” on the subject of large scale developments in Kingston.

Mr Davis criticised plans last week to build 30,000 new homes in Kingston by 2041, saying it would result in “over-development, the loss of green spaces and the shoehorning of homes into some of the smallest spaces”.

The proposal, outlined in a council document titled “Issues and Options”, proposes to build on large sites such as tower blocks, back gardens, and in-between properties - or by converting large houses into flats.

However, a document prepared by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Kingston Council in October 2016, while Mr Davis was still Leader, supports the securing of opportunity area status for the borough.

The document, titled the “Direction of Travel”, identifies Kingston Town Centre, the Cambridge Road Estate, New Malden and Tolworth as “areas of immediate opportunity for growth.”

Opportunity areas, like Bromley or Canada Water, feature many sites of brownfield land with significant capacity for development and existing or potentially improved public transport links, which can typically accommodate at least 5,000 jobs or 2,500 new homes.

Mr Davis told the Comet: “No, I have not changed my mind. Kingston needs to build many more homes but it needs to do them in the right way and in the right place.

“The list of potential sites in the issues and options papers entirely ignores the Direction of Travel and seems to create an open season for development that scatters huge numbers of homes into areas that we would never have considered.

"Specifically, the Direction of Travel was clear that we should not build on the greenbelt and yet the Issues and Options waters that down and even proposes thousands of homes on the greenbelt.”

Local campaigner Caroline Shah said: “The fact is that the Direction of Travel has laid open the possibility for mass development and for several Opportunity Areas across the borough.

“The vagueness of the plan leaves the borough open to the possibility of development on an even greater scale, which is what we are now seeing in the Issues and Options document.”