Cabinet vows to make changes and boost Portsmouth

The fragment from the Union Jack believed to have flown on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Credit: Sotheby's

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PORTSMOUTH’S new cabinet members have unveiled ideas to help drive the city forward.

Newly-elected city council leader Donna Jones has revealed who from her Conservative team is now heading each service.

Cllr Donna Jones

Cllr Donna Jones

Her deputy, Cllr Luke Stubbs, is spearheading planning, regeneration and economic development.

He wants to help ensure the proposed Northern Quarter retail development goes ahead, and see how council assets can be better used to make more money in order to offset cuts by central government.

He referred to a contract made on the former Remploy site in Milton in the 1950s stipulating the council would collect £100 rent a year, which didn’t take into account rises in inflation.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The priority has to be boosting employment opportunities in the city, through big schemes like Northern Quarter and making Portsmouth an attractive place for businesses.

‘It’s important we make the most of council assets to maximise income and offset cuts.’

Cllr Ken Ellcome, now in charge of traffic and transport, is a former roads chief inspector who oversaw traffic issues in southern Hampshire.

‘There are a whole raft of issues that need to be revisited,’ he said. ‘These include the closure of Palmerston Road, the park and ride and where it should serve anywhere else except Gunwharf and The Hard, cycling figures and road safety.’

Cllr Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said she wants to make the seafront a more attractive place.

‘It makes you feel ashamed that the D-Day commemorations took place on a seafront where the pier is falling down,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Lib Dems group – who resigned as council leader this week – hopes the cabinet system will be scrapped in favour of a committee with cross-party membership in the near future.

‘It was our suggestion two years ago,’ he said.

‘We know we are not going to see a party with a majority in the next few years so a committee system is a sensible move.’

Cllr Rob New is taking care of environment and community safety, Cllr Neill Young is responsible for children and education and Cllr Frank Jonas has health and social care.

Cllr Steve Weymss is responsible for housing and Cllr Lee Mason is in charge of resources.