THIS is the text of an open letter sent to John Denham, secretary of state for communities and local government:

Dear Mr Denham,

As you are aware, the Sustainable Communities Act allows people and local authorities to ask central government to take action on matters they feel will improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area.

Harrow Council is enthusiastic about the possibilities of the act, and therefore submitted a proposal asking the government to amend planning legislation to help local authorities protect gardens and urban green spaces from development.

We believe that the current powers afforded to safeguard these assets are not sufficient, and that this minor amendment will have a profoundly positive impact on Harrow and across the country.

In December 2009, the Local Government Association published a shortlist of some 200 proposals submitted under the act.

However, no agreement has been reached between your department and the Local Government Association on which of these proposals are to be implemented, despite you being obliged to do so under the act.

It is paramount that this delay does not continue, and I therefore encourage you to announce a plan of action for choosing which proposals will be taken to the next stage.

Many of them have the capacity to bring real change, and it would be wrong to deny people of their benefits when they have clearly stimulated so much enthusiasm.

COUNCILLOR DAVID ASHTON Leader of Harrow Council

Via email