The design watchdog yesterday claimed urban environments would benefit from a 'more sophisticated' density system than the current blanket approach.
The organisation said the quality of areas on the edge of town centres is being adversely affected by high densities.
The move will come as a shock to the ODPM, which has long argued that its density strategy has accomplished major positive changes in the way that housebuilders and local authorities undertake developments.
But a CABE document insisted that density should instead be considered on a 'case-by-case' basis rather than using a national target.
A CABE spokesperson added that local authorities should be allowed to set their own density levels based on need.
The recommendations follow the publication of the government's draft PPS3 planning legislation in December, which was subsequently put out to consultation.