Birmingham City Council should hold X Factor-style public votes to find local and national heroes to give their names to public spaces like streets and parks, a report has claimed.

The report, from the New Local Government Network think-tank, argues recognising the achievements of local people in place-names will help build community cohesion and civic pride, making it easier to celebrate Britain's collective identity.

Among the prominent people who the report suggests could be honoured nationally are football hero David Beckham and the Gallagher brothers of Oasis.

Report author James Hulme argues Birmingham should honour local figures ranging from Lord Of The Rings writer JRR Tolkien to Royal Marine Matthew Croucher, awarded the George Cross for heroic action in Afghanistan.

Mr Hulme urged councils to build on the example of the Mayor of Mansfield Tony Egginton, who named a swimming pool after double Olympic gold winner Rebecca Adlington.

Writing in the report What's In A Name?, Mr Hulme said: "Celebrating the achievements of local people would give areas a unique identity and focus, especially at a time when there is concern over so called 'clone towns' of identikit high streets.

"It would also be a strong sign that local areas are proud of their heritage and be an opportunity to enlighten newcomers and tourists to their area of the many things achieved there."

Local government minister John Healey welcomed the idea, but suggested that many communities may choose to honour "unsung heroes" who are unknown to the wider public.

"I think it's great for local democracy and local pride if people can name their public spaces after the people who are important to them," said Mr Healey.  "They may choose national icons. But they may also choose their community's unsung heroes; those who serve others and win the respect and admiration of the people around them."