RURAL and market towns are among 36 more communities that will try out new planning powers.
The 36 front-runners join 90 others that are among the first to test out neighbourhood planning powers introduced in the Localism Bill.
Planning minister Greg Clark said neighbourhood planning would give local people a real voice in deciding how development will look in their area.
It would allow people to shape their own vision for their community – in contrast to top-down regional strategies that are being scrapped.
Communities would be able to decide the locations of shops, offices and schools, protect valuable green spaces and set standards of design for new housing.
In areas where local people want to see homes and businesses built, communities would be allowed to grant blanket planning permission.
The community would also have the final say on whether a neighbourhood plan comes into force, said Mr Clark.
If more than 50% of people voting in a local referendum support the plan, then the local planning authority must bring it into force.
“For too long local people have been shut out of the planning process with no real voice to affect decisions about the places where they live.
“Unpopular regional strategies left people without the ability to influence the future of their community and this fuelled resentment towards growth.”
Each front runner’s local council will receive £20,000 to support work on neighbourhood planning and free advice from planning experts.
Rural consultant Brian Wilson, of Brian Wilson Associates, said rural communities had a proud history of developing parish and town plans.
“It will be fascinating to see how they use these proposed new neighbourhood planning powers,” he said.
“The advantage of the neighbourhood planning approach is that it will have statutory legitimacy.
“However, along with this will come additional complexity which could turn some rural communities off.”
In South Oxfordshire, Thame town council is already focusing on the local need for more affordable housing and transport infrastructure.
And in Northumberland, two rural parishes are concentrating on the need for more affordable housing, a new high school and an education campus.
In Wiltshire, Sherston Parish Council is aiming to deliver new homes, especially affordable homes for elderly and disabled residents.
Its plan will also look at the need for key local infrastructure such as high speed broadband, new schools and the development of a community orchard.
Meanwhile, local businesses and the community in Rutland are working together on a neighbourhood plan for Uppingham town centre.
The list of 36 communities is as follows:
|Central Bedfordshire||Caddington & Slip End|
|Cheshire West and Chester||Winsford|
|Gateshead||Team Valley Trading Estate|
|Liverpool||Liverpool Innovation Park|
|Milton Keynes||Central Milton Keynes|
|Milton Keynes||Stony Stratford|
|North Somerset||Long Ashton|
|Northampton||Wootton and East Hunsbury|
|Waltham Forest||Highams Park|
|West Oxfordshire||Chipping Norton|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||Bisham and Cookham|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||Datchet, Horton, Old Windsor and
|Windsor and Maidenhead||Hurley and the Walthams|
|Wirral (Central Liscard)||Central Liscard|