A recent public consultation has shown that householders in Eastleigh town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods are strongly in favour of more locally focused decision-making – and the Borough Council has responded by recommending that two new local councils are created for the area: for central Eastleigh and Boyatt Wood.
A survey carried out over the past two months as part of a community governance review (CGR) asked residents if they would like to be represented by one or more new parish or town councils.
The findings were reported to the Borough Council’s Administration Committee yesterday evening. Acting on a recommendation from last week’s Eastleigh Local Area Committee, Councillors approved the creation of a new Boyatt Wood Parish Council for the area north of the railway line and to the east of Twyford Road (excluding Dutton Lane and Barton Road), with the remaining parts of the unparished town centre area forming a separate Eastleigh Town Council.
More than 80 percent of respondents were in favour of a new tier of local democracy: 51 per cent of the 872 people who responded favoured the creation of a new single parish or town council to cover the whole unparished area, with 33 per cent wanting a new parish or town council just for their neighbourhood.
The consultation is part of Eastleigh Borough Council’s commitment to give residents greater ownership and control over the services and facilities delivered on their behalf. By creating a new, more local tier of government, the CGR would bring the Eastleigh town area into line with the ten other parish and town councils across the Borough.
In parished areas, householders are represented by elected councillors who are responsible for more tightly drawn local neighbourhoods than the much larger Borough Council wards. Residents are given a greater say in how the budget for local services - such as the maintenance of open spaces and play areas, and the management of community buildings and cemeteries - is spent.
Chair of the Council’s Administration Committee, Councillor Daniel Clarke, said: “Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey. The consultation showed that Boyatt Wood and the Eastleigh town centre area were the two neighbourhoods that people identified most closely with.”
Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Councillor Keith House, said: “With the prospect of much larger councils being created for areas far greater than our existing Borough, keeping decision-making as local as possible is becoming increasingly important.”
“The results of the community governance review shows that residents value effective and accountable local representation - and it has given us a clear indication that the creation of a new parish and town council is the favoured option for the large majority of people in this area.”
A final decision on the recommendations will be taken by a full meeting of Eastleigh Borough Council later this month. Elections to the new councils would take place in 2022.