The Borough Council’s Administration Committee has voted to proceed with a community governance review (CGR) aimed at bringing the Eastleigh town area into line with the ten other parish and town councils across the Borough.
The proposal to bring more locally focused decision-making to Eastleigh town centre and its surrounding neighbourhoods was agreed by Borough Councillors on Monday 12 October. A public consultation will get under way that could create one or more new parish or town councils for the area. A proposal to consider the CGR was agreed at a meeting of the Full Council in February.
The move is part of the Borough Council’s commitment to give residents greater ownership and control over the day-to-day activities and services delivered on their behalf, such as the maintenance of open spaces and play areas, the management of community buildings, cemeteries and local car parks.
If the wider Eastleigh town centre is ‘parished’, householders would be represented by elected councillors who are responsible for more tightly drawn local areas than the much larger Borough Council wards administered by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, which has a more strategic role; they would also have a greater say in how the budget for local services is spent.
The area covered by the community governance review is bordered by Allbrook parish in the north, the M27 Test Valley and Southampton City border to the south, the M3 to the west, and the River Itchen boundary with the Bishopstoke and West End parish areas.
Residents in this area will be asked for their views on options for how the first tier of local democracy might be structured. These include having one town/parish council covering the whole area, or a number of smaller parish councils dedicated to specific and clearly identifiable neighbourhoods. Residents and stakeholders in surrounding areas would also be asked their views.
The Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Councillor Keith House, said: “The Borough Council’s Local Area Committees have a strong record of working in partnership with our town and parish councils to provide excellent facilities and services. The community governance review reflects our commitment to increasing local accountability and bringing service delivery and decision-making as close to local residents as possible. We will be encouraging everyone to have their say in how their local area should be run.”
Elections to a new council or councils will take place in 2022.