There are a couple of ways that you can find out more about how communities can work with Parish Councils about housing developments.
You can call the new advice line which has been set up to give people support – the number
is 0300 020 1864 and they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Alternatively you can have a look through the resources available on the My Community website http://mycommunity.org.uk/programme/neighbourhood-planning/
If you wanted to start a new thread in the forum focused (and titled) around this topic, you may well find people who can share their similar experiences on this who might have missed your question in the middle of this thread.
I hope that this helps.