Worries raised as new partnership between Portsmouth City Council and Gosport Borough Council begins

Critics have condemned a new partnership that will see Portsmouth City Council and Gosport Borough Council share senior management executives.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 4:43 pm
Councillor Donna Jones and Councillor Mark Hook announcing the plans for Portsmouth and Gosport to share senior executives

As reported by The News, a deal that was struck earlier this year has come into force this week, with Gosport Borough Council paying almost £250,000 per year for services provided by Portsmouth.

The council recently made chief executive Ian Lycett and treasurer Julian Bowcher redundant along with other staff as it seeks to cut spending by £1.5m by 2020, allowing it to control 100 per cent of business rates and not be reliant on Westminster handouts.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, feels the move will make a significant difference.

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Councillor Peter Chegwyn

But Lib Dem councillor Peter Chegwyn has criticised the move and believes that Gosport’s issues may come second best.

Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘I think that it is wrong that we are being managed by Portsmouth and it is another nail in Gosport’s coffin.

‘We’re told we will be saving money, but I do not think that will be the case. We have spent out on redundancies and are now paying Portsmouth.

‘It is a very bad move for Gosport. Gosport decisions should be taken by Gosport executives and I think they (Portsmouth City Council)will have Portsmouth’s best interests at heart.’

Councillor Peter Chegwyn

However, Cllr Hook believes that his constituents will reap the rewards of working with a unitary authority.

He said: ‘I’m really looking forward to it. It brings a different view from different sets of eyes.

‘When the executives come over here, they are working for the people of Gosport.

‘We are here for the best of them and I am sure that will happen with the new arrangement.

‘We have already started saving money in the region, £360,000 a year and above, even though we are paying Portsmouth £247,000.’

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, also believes the partnership will prove fruitful.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Portsmouth and Gosport share a lot of similar issues, such as raising educational aspirations and boosting tourism.’

David Williams, the new chief executive of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘I’m delighted to take up my new role in Gosport and build upon the good work of my predecessor.

‘I’m confident we can successfully provide managerial support and strategic direction across the two councils. They have a number of common issues and shared agendas and the arrangement will open up further opportunities for both councils.’