Don't let this opportunity pass you by '“ have your say

This has already been an extraordinary year for politics.

Wednesday, 27th July 2016, 5:57 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:56 pm

In the past month alone, Britain voted in favour of leaving the European Union.

Since then, we’ve had a change of prime minister, a reshuffle of government and former heavy-weight politicians falling unceremoniously from the heady heights.

And now, with the fallout from last month’s Brexit vote still to be determined, people across our county will once again face another crucial issue – whether councils in Hampshire should unite to form one combined Solent authority.

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It would be the biggest political shift in modern history, for Hampshire at least.

And it is something that you will very soon be able to have a say on.

The plan would see the heads of Solent councils – which includes Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Southampton – forming a committee with an elected mayor that would control a pot of cash from central government to spend on projects.

This newly-formed authority would oversee strategic planning for the area, which would include education and healthcare, roads and housing.

At its core, the proposal is about taking power away from central government and giving it back to the people.

But before this comes to pass, the plan will have to go out to public consultation.

Council chiefs promise that your voice and views will be heard and, more importantly, acted upon if any proposal is approved.

In the hours after the Brexit vote was revealed, Portsmouth council boss Donna Jones spoke of her pride in Portsmouth, saying its residents had ‘roared like a lion’ and stated emphatically that the city wanted to leave the EU.

Well, let’s hope that same sort of ‘roar’ is heard when you get your chance to air your views over the proposed Solent authority.

The last thing the area needs is for a new political landscape to be created off the back of a half-hearted response.

So don’t let this opportunity pass you by – make sure you have your say.