Portsmouth and Southampton set to jointly sign up to new regional transport body

PORTSMOUTH is set to join a new influential transport body today that could help boost investment for the region.

Thursday, 29th June 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:05 pm
Traffic in Portsmouth City Centre

The city council is set to jointly sign up to newly-launched Transport for the South East (TfSE) along with Southampton City Council.

TfSE is a regional body based across the south east area made up of 13 different councils, including Hampshire County Council and five local enterprise partnerships.

It aims to lobby the Department for Transport to invest in road and rail infrastructure in order to boost the area’s links to other regions.

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The city council’s cabinet will meet later today with officers recommending that the Conservative administration jointly signs the city up along with Labour-run Southampton City Council to the new body.

A single member from the two authorities will be appointed to represent the two cities – with both councils contributing to the sign-up fee of £20,000.

A report ahead of today’s cabinet meeting reads: ‘In parts of the south east, such as the Solent, the infrastructure deficit is actively holding the back the potential contribution to economic growth.

‘Under-investment has left the area’s infrastructure under significant pressure. Urgent investment is now needed in its road, rail and bus network to meet the pressures on growth.

‘We can clearly see this in the Portsmouth area with the M27 experiencing significant congestion and slow rail journey times to London and within the Solent area.’

The report added that following the proposed Solent Combined Authority (SCA) model, ‘it makes sense’ to jointly link Portsmouth and Southampton on this body.

The Isle of Wight Council – who are proposed to be a part of the SCA – have decided to join the TfSE on an individual basis.

It also suggests the proposal that Southampton’s cabinet transport representative – Councillor Jacqui Rayment – will represent the two authorities, supported by Portsmouth’s lead transport officer.

At its first meeting, Councillor Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council was named chairman and Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader of Reading Borough Council named as vice-chairman. Following government agreement, it is expected that the TfSE will be fully established in April 2019.

Portsmouth’s cabinet was due to meet today at the Guildhall to decide on the proposals.