Planning laws will be relaxed in Croydon as the town looks to build thousands of new homes in the five years.

The borough is pitching to become one of the first housing enterprise zones in London, an initiative from the Mayor of London which looks to accelerate house building Boris Johnson wants to deliver 42,000 homes in the capital in the next 20 years, with Croydon having its own target of 9,500 homes built in five years.

Becoming a housing zone will mean the borough will offer incentives to developers such as a zero community infrastructure levy for residential development.

It means on some occasions developers will not have to help fund community improvements as a condition of getting planning permission.

Croydon Council is also encouraging the conversion of outdated office blocks in to new homes.

London deputy mayor Richard Blakeway told a recent housing conference in Croydon: "We must find new ways of achieving more affordable housing in the capital and Housing Zones will help us to test new products, new ideas and new capital.

"Croydon has the potential to supply new homes at a quality that nowhere else in London can supply due to its range of small and large sites, "That opportunity comes with the ability to support the rejuvenation of the area and the Croydon economy."

Croydon’s new executive director of development and environment Jo Negrini added: "We are looking to transform Croydon, not just in the town centre but throughout the whole borough."

But Labour’s shadow Croydon Council cabinet member for housing Alison Butler warned that setting a zero rate infrastructure levy could mean less money for the community.

She said money should be set aside to build new schools and other facilities to accompany the accelerated rate of new housing.

Coun Butler said: "It does mean that some of the funding from the development that would have gone into the community is lost.

"It is always a balancing act though as you want to encourage developers. But questions have to be asked about parks and open spaces, health services and school places.

"You don’t want to build trouble for yourself."