Plan to lower Havant council's petition threshold by 500 signatures is halted by cabinet

The Public Service Plaza, where Havant Borough Council is based. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)
The Public Service Plaza, where Havant Borough Council is based. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150078-158)
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A PROPOSAL to lower a council’s petition threshold has been put on ice by cabinet members. 

Havant Borough Council leaders today said there was insufficient evidence in a recommendation to reduce the number of signatures needed for a full council debate from 1,500 to 1,000. 

The move had been driven by Emsworth councillor Richard Kennett in a bid to encourage more residents to participate in democracy

But Cllr Michael Wilson, council leader, said the recommendation presented no proof the authority had received petitions with between 1,000 and 1,500 signatures that could be boosted by the change. 

‘I want to encourage transparency and residents’ participation as much as possible as part of the democratic process and if reduction of the numbers required for a petition assist I would agree,' he said.

‘However, it must be based on evidence to warrant a change to current policy.’ 

Cllr Wilson said it was also sidelined because the council’s constitution is currently under review. 

Cllr Kennett, who had campaigners’ backing with the plan, said: ‘While this is disappointing and the proposal brought us into line with other authorities, we will review and enhance the evidence and I hope that we will be able to push ahead positively on this in the near future.'