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Seventeen areas piloting the coalition's neighbourhood planning powers were named today, including one in Dorset.
Local authorities including Southwark in south London and Blaby, Leicestershire, have been selected to trial the new arrangements.
Under the system, residents will be able to decide the types of development given automatic planning permission through a Neighbourhood Development Order.
If approved by a local referendum, a council will need to adopt a neighbourhood plan providing it is line with wider ambitions for growth in their area.
The Government insists the change will give people a real say in everything from the locations of shops, offices and schools to standards of design for new housing.
Communities and Local Government minister Greg Clark said:
"Planning has increasingly become one of the most contentious issues in Britain, with communities becoming pitted against development.
"Often the reason is that local people feel alienated from the planning process, with no influence over changes to their area.
"Neighbourhood planning will help to reverse that position by giving communities the ability to shape development in their area rather than being dictated to."
Each of the 17 areas will receive £20,000 towards developing their plan from a £1 million fund.
The areas are:
Birmingham City Council - Balsall Heath (Birmingham)
Bristol City Council - Lockleaze (Bristol)
London Borough of Southwark - Bermondsey
London Borough of Sutton - Hackbridge
North Tyneside Council - North Shields Fish Quay
Wirral Borough Council - Devonshire Park
Allerdale Borough Council - Cockermouth
Blaby District Council - Blaby
Cherwell Borough Council - Banbury
Exmoor National Park Authority - Lynton
Gedling Borough Council - Newstead
Lewes District Council - Ringmer
Northumberland County - Allendale
Shropshire Council - Much Wenlock
Teignbridge District Council - Dawlish
West Dorset District Council - Cerne Abbas
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead - Bray