Council set to join group to help drive transport plans

A COUNCIL looks set to join a new transport body to oversee major road and rail improvements.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:47 pm
Hampshire County Council is likely to join a new group that aims to improve transport in the south east

Hampshire County Council’s cabinet will decide on Monday if it become part of a new shadow Sub National Transport body for the South East.

The TfSE would set up seven local authorities within the south east, known as the SE7.

Its creation would give local authorities further legal powers and duties to advice transport ministers on decisions about improving the transport in the area.

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The authority’s cabinet is recommended by its officers to endorse the move at a meeting on Monday.

They would then appoint a member to represent the council and approve an investment of £20,000 to help set it up.

It could take up to two years to fully establish TfSE with a draft transport strategy then to be developed for the region.

Councillor Rob Humby, the executive member for transport on the county council said: ‘The south east, with its links to London, Heathrow, Gatwick and its major ports, is a significant contributor to the country’s economy and needs a modern and efficient transport infrastructure to support this.

‘TfSE will focus attention on the need for road and rail investment in this part of the country.’

He said that rail improvements on the London Waterloo line down to the south east would be looked at by the group.

Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council and Isle of Wight council have been offered invitations to join the new body, which would be set up by county councils in Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Brighton and Hove City Council and Medway Council.

Cllr Humby said the council is keen for the unitary authorities to join the body.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council said that the Portsmouth, Southampton and Isle of Wight councils would seek collective membership of the board as part of the proposed Solent Combined Authority.

She added that the area already benefits from a separate transport board called Solent Transport.