The government intends to publish guidance on quality housing, an initiative widely seen as a response to claims that it has relaxed curbs on higher density housing.
The guidelines, drawn up by architect Llewelyn Davies on behalf of the DTLR and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, explain how housebuilders and council planning officers can avoid low-quality housing.

A source said the guidance will focus on altering road layouts and discouraging cul-de-sac development. It will also indicate how developers can raise housing densities 50% to 30 dwellings a hectare, as recommended in PPG3, without creating cramped developments.

The source said: "People in the industry have been asking, 'What does PPG3 mean?' The dilemma has been how to raise densities without lowering quality.

"This can be seen as an anti-cul-de-sac, anti-generic road layout report. It will tackle the failings of suburbs and break up the Brookside Close-style of development. This is a more intelligent approach to space."

He said road layouts in the past had assumed a high level of car ownership. More emphasis would now be placed on public transport and providing local services.

Other initiatives will include reducing the space between semi-detached houses. Planning minister Lord Falconer is expected to make an official announcement about the guidelines on 11 September.