Portsmouth City Council ‘must have say over key decisions’

Portsmouth City Council's Civic Offices
Portsmouth City Council's Civic Offices
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CITY leaders have been urged not to support a super combined authority representing the Solent region if decisions cannot be overturned locally.

Combined authorities have been rolled out in the UK but plans for one serving areas like Portsmouth and Southampton are still in the very early stages.

And Lib Dem councillors Darren Sanders and Michael Andrewes believe that should one be set up, Portsmouth City Council should have a power of veto over agreements it makes which do not benefit the city.

As reported, a combined authority would see the leaders of local councils come together to lobby for greater powers and money from the government to bring in benefits for the region.

It would see fewer decisions being made by government ministers.

But there are concerns over how the authority would best serve individual areas, which is why the Lib Dems feel the council needs a say.

In a motion going before the full council tomorrow, Cllr Sanders and Andrewes state: ‘Any sharing of decision-making within a Solent combined authority, on issues such as transport, planning, housing numbers and economic development, should always include an ability for the council to veto any decision made by any combined authority with which it does not agree.’

The council is being asked to write to the government requesting the power of veto, and that reports of future decisions made by the authority should go before members regardless of whether it is granted.

But Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory deputy council leader, said the veto would undermine the authority’s purpose.

‘If everyone had a veto it wouldn’t work because everyone would all the infrastructure going their way and housing to go somewhere else,’ he said.

‘These decisions are made by the government and if we do make them locally, we have to act in a grown up way and look at things for the wider area, rather than just focus on one locality.’

The full council will meet from 2pm at Portsmouth Guildhall.