David Cameron has been accused of being a “Nimby” and deliberately suppressing a plan which could see garden cities built in a Conservative heartland.
The Whitehall document recommends the construction of two garden cities with tens of thousands of homes being built but the report, written more than a year ago, has yet to be published.
Senior Liberal Democrats accused the Prime Minister, whose Witney constituency is in Oxfordshire, of suppressing the report and, according to the Daily Telegraph, of taking a “Nimby attitude”.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has already identified Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire as areas where new homes could be built but the Conservatives are said to fear such a development would bring Labour voters into a Tory stronghold.
The Whitehall report calls for the developments to be modelled on the original garden city projects at Letchworth and Welwyn in Hertfordshire.
Garden cities would have some support among Conservatives as an answer to the pressing need for more homes to be built but it could alienate many Tories in the shires on the eve of an election year. With many voters already sympathetic to UKIP the Conservative hierarchy are anxious to avoid giving them any further excuse to transfer their allegiance.
Mr Clegg is understood to want the report published and has put pressure on the Prime Minister to do so. He is said to have told MPs: “I believe in garden cities and [that is] why, as a Government, we are committed to publishing a prospectus on them, which I very much hope we will do as soon as possible.”
Tim Farron, the Party President of the Liberal Democrats, told the Telegraph: “It is time to break the log jam. This report needs to come out now and come out quickly. The Tories are displaying a Nimby attitude towards garden cities.”
He added that garden cities “offer a real chance” for people to realise their dreams of home ownership and to boost the economy.