Communities are to be given new rights to build affordable homes in their areas without planning permission, housing minister Grant Shapps has confirmed.
New home developments proposed by new Local Housing Trusts would need only to meet basic standards if they had the backing of 90% of local people.
The government believes they will mainly be set up by people in rural areas concerned that a lack of housing threatened local schools, shops and other facilities.
It could also allow them to counter proposals to build second home developments - blamed for pricing some locals, especially young people, out of their own villages.
Full details of the plans would be included as part of a Localism Bill in the autumn, but Mr Shapps said they represented a "revolution".
"LHTs [Local Housing Trusts] will have to show that they have the overwhelming backing from people living in the area and they will need to meet some basic planning criteria to make their proposals sound," he said.
"But essentially I want communities to have the freedom to decide on the type and quantity of housing without external restrictions imposed by a centralised planning system.
"People want to help young people to stay in their community.
"Villages may also want to build some housing to sell, sheltered housing for the elderly, or even set aside plots for people to build their own homes.
"It will be up to the Local Housing Trust. They will be able to make a judgment about how best to invest in their community and meet its needs."