THE PARISHES of Fernhurst and Kirdford have been awarded £20,000 each to design their own Neighbourhood Plans.
The two areas have been given government grants to use new powers under the Localism Act for communities to shape and plan their future growth.
Under the new plans communities can help decide where development should go and can also choose the type and design of development that can be granted automatic planning permission.
Chichester District Council submitted the bids on behalf of Kirdford and the South Downs National Park for Fernhurst.
Both have the backing of their parish councils and communities.
Cllr Josef Ransley, cabinet member for corporate services at CDC, said: “Neighbourhood Plans are a huge opportunity for parishes to have their say on how they want to develop and what development they would like to see.
“In my parish of Kirdford, residents have been enthusiastically involved with their Community Led Plan for some time and this is giving them real involvement around the future shape and character of our village and surroundings.”
The parishes were two of more than 100 announced by communities minister Bob Neill to test out the principles of neighbourhood planning before the system starts formally later this year.
Another 125 communities have already been working up plans. All councils have been given £20,000 to support their work.
Cllr Janet Duncton, cabinet member for planning said: “We’ve worked with the parishes who applied for the latest round of front runner funding for their Neighbourhood Plans and we’re delighted to see they were successful.
“The plans will have to work with our own Local Plan, but will allow the communities to influence growth and to have a greater say over where development will take place.”