The government has unveiled a list of nine potential eco-towns for the second wave of the scheme, and has released £5m to councils to work up plans for the developments

John Healey, housing minister, said existing schemes including Northstowe in Cambridge and Shoreham Harbour in West Sussex were being considered.

As well as the schemes already in development, the communities department said it would work with local authorities in Taunton, Yeovil, Leeds, South Yorkshire, Dearne Valley, and Cornwall to bring forward proposals.

In July, Healey unveiled the list of four first-wave eco-towns that would share £60m in infrastructure funding. These were St Austell in Cornwall, Whitehill Bordon in Hampshire, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire.

Meanwhile, the Town and Country Planning Association announced that chief executive and eco-town cheerleader and policymaker, Gideon Amos, was leaving the organisation for a government post.