Stevenage's Conservative MP Stephen McPartland has asked the government to step in to support his view that the current Local Plan, devised by the Labour-run Stevenage Borough Council, is not going to regenerate the town centre.
The draft plan sets out proposals for regeneration and allocates sites to build about 7,600 new homes by 2031. The council said it was "found to be sound" by the government’s planning inspector.
But in a blog post the MP said the "town centre is not fit for purpose".
"It needs regenerating and bringing forward into the 21st Century,... the Local Plan fails to regenerate the town centre, as it does not include the shops in Queensway, but don’t worry it includes fancy new Council offices!"
McPartland asked communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid to intervene and the minister has ordered the borough council not to move forward until "the issues raised... are considered further".
Council leader Sharon Taylor said: "We are in the very late stages of developing our Local Plan, which sets out ambitious plans for Stevenage... it is disappointing to hear of this political intervention that seems to be trying to hold back much-needed housing, creating jobs and regenerating our town centre.
"We will remain in contact with DCLG [Department for Communities and Local Government] colleagues over coming weeks to work through any issues they may have with the draft plan."