Opponents of "eco-towns" with up to 20,000 new homes should focus on opportunities rather than threats to their environment, Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears insisted.
In an interview with The Birmingham Post, Ms Blears defended plans to build ten new towns across Britain, including at least one in the West Midlands.
About 300 campaigners marched against plans for a new town on the former Long Marston Army Camp near Stratford, Warwickshire, last month.
Conservative MPs have criticised proposals for eco-towns at an old airfield at Throckmorton, Worcestershire, and at a former airfield at Curborough, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
These are the proposals which are known about, as the Government has so far refused to publish details of some sites.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is considering 60 applications, and is expected to approve ten, including at least one in each region.
Ministers were expected to publish a shortlist this week, but last night this appeared to have been delayed.
Ms Blears defended the secrecy, claiming publishing a list of every proposal would have encouraged residents to worry.
But she admitted many of the applications the Government had received from developers hoping to build eco-towns were nothing more than old planning applications which had already been rejected.
She said: "We are keen to get on with it for a number of reasons.
"One is there were quite a lot of applications submitted that quite frankly would never go through.
"Some were re-heated planning applications that had already been refused and were not the kind of thing we wanted. I am as anxious to get rid of those as anyone else because what we have now is a series of people being worried about things that are not likely ever to happen.
"The more we concentrate on the ones likely to go forward the better for everyone."
She said the Government needed to persuade residents who opposed ecotowns to consider the benefits.
"Part of our challenge is to work with people and persuade them having new homes built is not going to destroy their quality of life, but actually it can be about creating really good, modern communities of the future.
"Inevitably, people are unnerved by change and worry about their environment. But I think it is possible to combine new development with a really high standard of environmental care, the whole purpose of eco-towns.
"They will be places where people want to walk, where they've got great leisure facilities, you can touch on some of the issues around obesity through the planning system by making it easier for people to exercise. These can be really exciting places to live.
"I suppose it is whether you see change as a threat or an opportunity."
Ms Blears said opponents of eco-towns also needed to consider the needs of people struggling to buy their own home because of a housing shortage.
"Most people recognise that first time buyers in particular need to be able to get a start on the housing ladder.
"Even people who own their own home know friends or family who are desperate to get homes of their own."
Eco-towns are designed to be zero-carbon and do not damage the environment. As well as housing, they will include new facilities such as schools and GP surgeries.