But world famous architect Lord Rogers has called for a rethink.
'If we can use buildings which already exist, that strengthens the concept of the urban renaissance, the liveable city.'
Lord Rogers is the chairman of the urban task force set up by John Prescott when Labour came to power in 1997.
He said that large-scale demolition was never recommended by the task force in its vision or the renewal of Britain.
But rows of terraces across northern England and would be levelled under the Government proposals. It would be a re-run of the 1960s' slum clearances that gave birth to the high-rise block of flats.
Many of the areas targeted are crime-ridden inner city districts such as Anfield in Liverpool and Moss Side in Manchester, where whole streets of houses stand boarded up and derelict.
Mr Prescott's department is meant to be redevelop urban areas where the housing market has collapsed. But Mr Prescott's plans, announced last month, have already met with an outcry from heritage and conservation experts.
The Deputy Prime Minister's Pathfinder scheme requires the destruction of 6,800 homes in Liverpool. There are nine Pathfinder areas across the country. Opposition to the plans was backed by the Government's own conservation advisers, English Heritage.
English Heritage said the cost of repairing a Victorian terrace house over 30 years was up to 60 per cent cheaper than new building.