Portsmouth called to have its say on Solent Combined Authority

THE people of Portsmouth have been having their say on plans which could see the city form part of a Solent Combined Authority.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 5:05 pm
The Solent region

Portsmouth City Council boss Donna Jones was quizzed over the £900m proposal at a consultation day in 1000 Lakeside at North Harbour.

The scheme, if approved, would secure more cash for councils in the Solent area, giving them greater power to make local improvements.

The government has already said it will give £30m a year for such an authority to spend over a 30-year period.

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Cllr Jones said the move would allow decisions to be made locally rather than in Westminster.

But the Tory chief is keen to hear more residents’ views before the consultation deadline of Sunday, September 18.

Explaining the deal, she added: ‘The Solent Combined Authority would secure £30m a year for us to spend on improving local roads, public areas, housing and job creation benefiting residents of Portsmouth Southampton and the Isle of Wight.’

Residents are now being called to join a consultation night at Portsmouth’s Guildhall on Wednesday, at 7.30pm, where they can talk to Cllr Jones about the deal.

As previously reported, the plan would see an elected mayor chairing a cabinet made up of the leaders of all the councils involved.

A Portsmouth City Council spokesman added the new authority will work to ‘increase business productivity’ and create more jobs.

The proposal would enable all of the business rates generated in the area to be retained locally, meaning the area it would have better control of its financial future.

But Hampshire County Council is opposed to the plan. It launched a rival consultation, with options including a merger of the county and district councils into a single unitary authority.

Council boss Roy Perry said that move would ‘hold a real prospect of delivering a council tax cut for many households, prevent services from being cut and provide savings of £400m over 10 years’.

For details on Solent’s plan, see solentdeal.co.uk