Nearly 300 proposals have been submitted by around 85 councils under the first round of the Sustainable Communities Act.
The Act, which became law in October 2007, provides a framework for authorities to put forward ideas on how to improve the quality of life in their local areas but which require changes at a national level.
The submissions (listed in the file on the right) include efforts to revitalise the High St and ways of tackling rising youth unemployment.
The Local Government Association will act as a selector body, drawing up a list of proposals which will be submitted to Communities Secretary John Denham at the end of the year.
Unsurprisingly the recession is a strong theme
Keith Mitchell, LGA
The Secretary of State will have the final say on what plans are given the go ahead.
Several authorities want to have the power to offer reduced business rates to help support local small and medium sized businesses.
One council wants more detailed labelling to be introduced for food products so customers can make easier decisions about buying locally, another is arguing for a minimum standard of broadband access.
Keith Mitchell, chairman of the LGA selector panel, said: “It is great to see so much enthusiasm from councils, ready to expand their responsibilities to do everything they can to make life better for their residents and we would expect nothing less.
“The proposals which have been submitted are practical responses to specific local conditions, plans which councils are uniquely placed to be able to generate and upon which they can act.
“Unsurprisingly the recession is a strong theme as councils look to continue their efforts to offer support to local businesses and vital assistance to local people.”
Cllr Mitchell said that innovative projects would be created in many parts of the country as a result of the ideas with some rolled out more widely where they have the potential to improve things on a larger scale.