Combined authority plans raise concerns

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THE chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council has raised concerns over plans for a combined authority serving Hampshire.

Councillor John Pickering believes the plans are ‘unduly ambitious’ and adds another unnececesary layer of local government.

And he is worried the plans are moving along at such an ‘accelerated pace’.

It comes ahead of a meeting of authority leaders today, when they are due to discuss the plans more.

In a statement to The News, Cllr Pickering said he is unsure if the plans would work.

‘What skills and experience do officers and members of the authorities have to bring all this about, and in so short a time frame?’

He adds: ‘It is surprising that such proposals should come from a group of Conservative-led local authorities, since it is the Conservatives that are generally understood to be opposed to public ownership, to be in favour of reducing red tape and bureaucracy, and wishing to reduce the size of the public sector.

‘While George Hollingbery MP enthuses about devolution, he fails to recognise that these proposals run the risk of creating a greater degree of centralisation further down the structure.’