LOCAL Works, a group of 100 national organisations, this week congratulated Ealing Council for pledging to work with residents, through the Sustainable Communities Act, to tackle borough problems.

The Act allows people – together with their council – to put ideas to the Government that would help the area.

These ideas could be for new powers, changes to planning rules or even new laws.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by Local Works, Cllr Ranjit Dheer, Ealing's deputy leader, offered his support for the Act and spoke of its potential for addressing borough issues.

He also welcomed ideas from residents that could be submitted.

Under the Act, the Government must 'reach agreement' on submitted proposals and cannot simply reject them. It must negotiate and compromise if necessary.

Since it was passed in 2007, more than 100 councils across the country have used it to request Government help for their communities.

It has already been used to protect post offices, help local energy schemes and support smaller business.

Ealing is the first borough in London to use the Act to help protect valued pubs.

Cllr Dheer, said: “Pubs which provide a place for responsible drinkers are important individual landmarks for society.

"It should be local people and local authorities who are given the power to decide what happens to their community. The Sustainable Communities Act has the potential to achieve this power.”

The Act received cross-party support in Parliament when it became law in October 2007, following a five-year grass roots campaign by the Local Works coalition.

Members include Age UK, the Campaign for Better Transport, CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale, Countryside Alliance and Friends of the Earth.