Communities may be able to forge ahead with local road improvement schemes as part of a trial aimed at giving parishes a greater say about how they spend their own money.

They would be able to complete road-related initiatives, such as traffic-calming measures or implement lower speed limits that are either not a priority for Devon County Council or that it won’t fund.

The trial was welcomed by all political parties at Devon’s cabinet meeting this week.

Councillor Frank Biederman (Independent, Fremington Rural) said the council “simply cannot afford what communities want to do” and so this was a “step in the right direction”.

“Communities can raise their council tax precept for a scheme if they feel it is a priority for them to do, so I think this trial is a good idea,” he said.

“There is a community near me that wants to move ahead with a scheme, and it’s what they want to do so we should let them do it.

“We’re always fed up with Whitehall controlling us, and the parishes probably feel the same with the council.”

A step-by-step guide will be produced so parishes can understand what is required before any work is carried out, such as the appointment of a designer and road safety audits. Proposals will also need funding in place to go ahead.

Councillor Julian Brazil (Liberal Democrat, Kingsbridge) welcomed the trial, adding that he thought it was “how councils should be working”.

“It will be interesting to see the guidance, and I hope it isn’t too prescriptive or onerous so that it makes communities give up,” he said.

“It needs to be a clear and simple process.

“Obviously communities have to do things correctly and safely, but I hope this makes them easy for them to do what they want to, especially if it is something that they are paying for because they want to do it.”

If the trial is successful, it could be turned into a permanent scheme.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highway management, said: “We as elected members are often approached by our local town and parish councils who would like to progress minor highway improvements which do not necessarily match the priorities of the broader county council.

“This trial will enable communities to self-deliver minor improvements and is a continuation of the successful road warden and snow warden scheme.”