The Downton Abbey star has branded the regeneration scheme in leafy West Hampstead "ridiculous" and is demanding to know how local officials plan to provide healthcare and education for the families who will flock to the area.

Developers want to overhaul an office block and a local business to construct almost 200 homes and stores but many local residents, led by Carter, are objecting to the project.

The actor tells the London Evening Standard, "The scale of what is planned is ridiculous. It doesn't support the village-like aspect of West Hampstead. It's oversized. West Hampstead is a mix of people and we've got to try and preserve that and the character of the area but there aren't enough affordable flats.

"Where are the schools and the doctors' surgeries to support it? It's too big for the area and totally dwarfs everything around it."

A spokesman for developers A2 Dominion says, "A key aim is to enhance this prominent town centre frontage, improve the relationship with the surrounding buildings, while respecting the nearby West End Lane conservation area."