Ministers have been pressed to do more to prevent so-called "garden grabbing", where developers by up houses with large gardens and the build a number of new houses on the plot.
New guidance was issued to councils last week on how to halt unwanted developments.
But at question time on 26 January 2010, the shadow communities and local government Secretary, Caroline Spelman, accused ministers of being in denial - their own policies, she said, were giving a green light to "garden grabbing".
But Local Government Minister John Healey denied this claim, arguing that the policies Ms Spelman had referred to dated back to 1985 when the Conservatives were in power.
He insisted that councils did have the powers to tackle the problem, but were failing to use them.