Eastleigh Leader condemns county decision

Page last updated at 07 June 2016 at 09:13

Eastleigh Borough Council Leader, Cllr Keith House, has condemned Hampshire County Council's decision not to support the Solent Combined Authority bid, prior to a consultation on options for local government in Hampshire, at its Cabinet meeting on Monday 6 June.

Cllr Keith House said, “We are extremely disappointed with the decision of the county. The County favours a plan for a new unitary authority across Hampshire. These plans are costly and divisive and are not in the interests of the residents of Hampshire. The county should be actively supporting and getting involved with both the combined authority proposals for Hampshire and the County’s assertion that the integrity of their services will be at risk is fundamentally wrong.”

Cllr House added, "There is the potential for our region to reap great benefits for residents and businesses alike. Government is offering the Solent region £30M a year for the next 30 years, and we need to make sure we all work together to secure this and get the most out of it.”

"It is important that we bring these new funds and powers from government to our local area. Government funding has reduced by over 50% since 2008 and all councils have had to respond. At Eastleigh we have significantly reduced the net cost of providing services and we are on track to reduce costs even further through innovative service delivery and careful investment.”

Eastleigh Borough Council is one of eight councils working on plans for a Solent Combined Authority which is expected to bring £900M of government funding into the region in the next 30 years to invest in economic growth and housing. The combined authority would only manage the new powers and funding granted by government, it would not take the place of any of the councils involved which would continue to operate as they currently do.

East Hampshire District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council, Havant Borough Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council would all be represented on the board of the new authority which would be headed by a directly elected mayor.

The combined authority and its mayor would also have responsibility for strategic planning; increasing business productivity; creating better jobs and more jobs; adult education and training; a dedicated transport budget; franchised bus services; the key route network of local authority roads; and delivering 52,000 homes in the next 10 years.