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Commission on the Future of Localism – Evidence hearing


Locality meeting

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Locality, in association with Power to Change, has established a Commission on the Future of Localism to investigate what is needed to reinvigorate local democracy and empower communities. Join the Commission for our next consultation event in Bristol on the 24 July.

We will be hearing evidence about what models of neighbourhood-level decision-making and participation are working. Join the discussion on the role of civil society and community infrastructure in supporting people to have a greater stake in their local area.

Event details
Date: Monday, 24 July 2017
Venue: Barton Hill Settlement, 43 Dulcie Road, Barton Hill, BRISTOL, B55 0AX
Time: 1.30pm – 4pm
Agenda: TBC

 Link to the relevant page for registering


A sort of alternative to a Parish Council


"Residents in Titchfield near Fareham have developed the plan to make sure they have a formal say on how development should be undertaken in their community, as thousands of new homes are due to be built in the borough over the coming years."

Daily Echo icon Link to The Daily Echo article


I thought that we had finished with this


The move could see £30m allocated to the region over the next 30 years by the government and an elected mayor would oversee the SCA which would work in the form of a ‘Solent cabinet’."

So all of this agro again for a measly £10m a year, it's probably already cost us that much to get to this point. I wonder if FBC will be able to keep it's nose out of it this time.

Daily Echo icon Link to The Daily Echo article


Possibly I wasn't (being premature)


"The reported 'collapse' of the plans for a so-called Solent City - the Solent Combined Authority - brought sharp criticism from some quarters of the approach by Hampshire County Council.

The Daily Echo invited the Council's leader, Councillor Roy Perry to explain his thinking behind the issues around devolution in Hampshire.

Like the Daily Echo, I will only truly believe the Solent Combined Authority devolution deal is dead when it is confirmed by Government – we will know for sure in the forthcoming budget which I suspect will, in fact, be its death knell."

I wonder just what the TOTAL cost of this fiasco has been to the electorate of Hampshire. And after all of this time we still haven't been asked whether we wanted it or not.

Daily Echo icon Link to The Daily Echo article


Oops, maybe I was a bit premature


Well our Council Leader obviously isn't going to give up that easily, he still seems to reckon that there's a method to get hold of that extra dosh.

Quote from The News icon The News article
"However, Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council insisted no decision had been made on the deal and that councils had been ‘assured’ it was still on the table.


Is Devolution now dead?


So after all the money that has been spent on trying to set the deal for devolution, it seems that Isle of Wight Conservative councillors have killed the plan. I guess that all that remains for me at the moment is to archive this page and wait for the next step.

Link to BBC article BBC Icon

The News icon Link to the The News article


Full steam ahead for Fareham


Although Gosport and Havant don't seem quite so keen

Article from the Fareham and Gosport View; Issue 32; 28th October 2016

Quote "Gosport and Havant Borough Council officials say they want to see more details first but Fareham leader Councillor Sean Woodward says he's eager to get on board".

So it makes not a jot of difference what we think, our Executive Leader is going to plough his own furrow no matter what other similar authorities concerned may think. Fareham obviously knows better!

Click picture to enlarge


IoW Executive overrules Full Council


At the Executive Committee of the Isle of Wight Council last night the seven man Executive Committee overruled the Full Council in the combined authority debate citing the fact that the it was such a small majority (17 votes to 16) that they could ignore the wishes of the majority. At the moment it is only to keep talking until they see what the outcome of the full debate will be.

The News icon Link to the The News article

The News icon Link to another article in The News

Isle-of-Wight County Press icon Link to the Isle of Wight County Press


IoW delays devolution


Solent devolution bid is dealt a setback by Isle of Wight

Well at least one of the triumvirate looks as if it might give it's residents the chance to have their say on this major change but we will still have to wait and see until their executive meet next week. I wonder if there is anybody on the Island that would be willing to video the meeting as it would be extremely interesting to see and listen to their arguments. Just a shame that I can't afford the ferry costs.

The big problem is that we, the electorate, still haven't been told EXACTLY what the ramifications of this major change to local governemnt will mean or how much it will cost us, so how are we supposed to decide on it's relevance and whether or not it would be a good idea? Is it possible that Southampton and Portsmouth have learned from the BREXIT referendum that if they want to get this past the electorate make sure that they aren't asked. Just like the referendum in June, it might just come back and bite them on the bum if they were to allow a democratic vote to take place.

The News icon Link to the The News article

Daily Echo icon Link to the Daily Echo article

Isle-of-Wight County Press icon Link to the Isle of Wight County Press


Could Portsmouth follow with a referendum?


Lib Dems in Portsmouth call for public vote on council devolution scheme

Southampton councillor Andrew Pope described the consultation carried out as a ‘sham’.

He said: ‘The people of both cities must have their say. It should not decided in back rooms by a few councillors.

The News icon Link to the The News article


Chris Whitehouse: Say no to the Solent Combined Authority


Obviously not everybody on the I.O.W. feels the same

Quote from an article by Cllr. Chris Whitehouse - Education spokesman for the Conservative Group on the Isle of Wight Council -

"The proposal has already been out to what can only be described as a most premature and deeply flawed consultation which simply failed to engage the attention of the local electorates who frankly were unclear what this was all about. If they had read the consultation material, they wouldn’t be much wiser, since it was at best shallow and at worst inconsistent, inaccurate and misleading."

At last a local politician concedes that the so-called consultation into devolution is very flawed indeed. I wonder if anybody will take any notice of him though.

conservtaivehome icon Link to the  article in Conservativehome


I wonder if Southampton and the I.o.W feel the same?


Quote from an Star and Crescent logo  e-mail that arrived in my inbox this morning -
"The local press have stayed conspicuously quiet on the implications of the Solent Deal for local democracy, concentrating instead on telling us how much money could come our way and the various projects on which it could be spent. These stories are all clearly designed to get us on board but they are purely speculative. Nothing is guaranteed. As always, the devil will be in the detail and detail is what we don’t have."

It made for some very interesting reading, obviously Portwighhampton's idea of 'consultation' is very similar to that of FBC so we aren't the only ones that are extremely concerned with the way that this major change in the way that we are governed is going.

Whether you agree or disagree with this form of devolution, is it right that decisions that concern our future should be taken on the outcome of an Internet survey? Surely it is time that those that want this sort of change started to TALK to us and LISTEN to, what WE say.

 Don't forget the petition HMG petitions Icon asking just that WE are CONSULTED BEFORE any decision is made.


Some thoughts from Manchester


Alex Ganotist of Stockport Council says that "devolution has brought huge benefits, allowing local politicians to spend money where they see it is needed.

But he warns that the mayor’s team can feel remote from ordinary people.

“People need to feel and believe that they are a part of it,”

Well there's a salutory warning for our councillors.

The Solent Deal and Hampshire County Council consultations have ended (did you notice that they had taken place?)

Daily Echo icon Link to the Daily Echo article


A plea from a Southsea resident


A Southsea resident has launched a petition calling for a referendum on the plans for a Solent Mayoral Combined Authority because the plans to implement it would change the way local government works so it should be approved by the people rather than politicians.

Many folks in Portsmouth believe that the consultation is rushed and started at a time when people are away or otherwise occupied. It is being pushed solely via an internet consultation questionnaire. It doesn't take account of the needs of those with disabilities and those without access to the internet who should be included too.

This is matter of considerable concern for residents of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight as such major changes should not merely be asked to answer an Internet questionnaire. Residents should be consulted and allowed to agree or disagree to them having been given enough information up front by the councils to make an informed decision.

There should have been active engagement with residents from the start that is more than a series of stage-managed “Drop Ins” and a questionnaire that seems to be geared to a predetermined outcome. It should involve a full consultation and debate of all the issues set out in the paper. The process should include public meetings across the region at which elected representatives and local government officers from all the authorities are present to explain their position and answer questions.”

To that end there are calls to Her Majesty’s Government for plans for a new authority to be put to a referendum, for politicians to accept that it should only go ahead with a majority in favour in each of the three council areas. A petition has been raised to that end. The petition will send a strong message to government that the people of this region want to have a proper say on their future governance. If any of your members feel the same perhaps they might be interested in  signing this petition too....HMG petitions Icon

It looks as if they have been taking lessons from Fareham Borough Council's method of 'consultation'. If you are not sure of the outcome, make sure that there is only one possibilty.


SCA to fund Junction 10?


So could we now be starting to see why our Council Executive Leader is so keen to join the Portwighthampton crew? From this article it would seem that he has virtually given up on the idea that the developers would fund the junction 10 improvements so we now need the South Hampshire devolution to go ahead so that the taxpayer can fund his dream.

"Now, Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council says that the £25m of funding needed to start the project could be brought in as part of a devolution package from central government.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘We have already secured £15m for the works from Highways England and now we are looking in to bring the extra funding needed for this project.’"

The News icon Link to the The News article


Consultation - what consultation?


Everyman and his dog now wants to consult on devolution. Unfortunately local councils and the Cambridge Dictionary seem to differ somewhat on the definition of the word.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary the word consult means: "The process of discussing something with someone in order to get their advice or opinion about it" leaving the word "discussing" for definition. Once again according to the same dictionary the word discuss means: "to talk about a subject with someone and tell each other your ideas or opinions".

Note the word talk. According to our local councils the word consult seems to mean "would you please put a cross next to the questions that mostly resembles the answer that you would like and are allowed to make". If we don't like a possible alternative then we won't ask the question.

Hampshire County Council, the Portwighthampton consortium and our local councils seem completely unprepared to actually come and discuss with us, the electorate, just what devolution would ACTUALLY MEAN. This is such a big subject, probably as far as local government in this area is concerned, as big as the EU referendum meant to the country as a whole. At least the contenders in that instance, tried to scare, cajole, persuade, us into what BREXIT would mean rather than just run the referendum without any real discussion.

Probably by the time this subject is finally laid to rest it will have cost us, the local ratepayers, in excess of £500,000. Our local council have already contributed £20,000 in trying to get us to join the Portwighthampton consortium - just think how that would have enabled them to, for example, keep the waste recycling units open thereby reducing the hidden cost of flytipping.

Personally I would love to complete all of these surveys, but each time that I have tried I get to the point that I honestly don't know what answers to give, as by answering them in any way whatsoever presumes that I agree with something that, to be honest, I am just not qualified at this stage to have a well considered opinion on. There are so many ongoing questions that I would need to resolve before I could make a sensible choice that my time battling through anymore of the surveys would be a total waste of time because I still wouldn't know which boxes to tick.

Links to the relevant surveys

The Solent Deal and Hampshire County Council consultations have ended (did you notice that they had taken place?)


And now Portwighthampton to start consultations


"It's been billed as a historic deal that could help to build 50,000 new homes, tackle south Hampshire’s congestion woes and even lead to a tram system between Southampton and Portsmouth.

Solent Deal icon Link to the Combined Authorities draft plan

How many more homes do we need in South Hampshire?

BBC icon Link to the BBC Video article
Daily Echo icon Link to the Daily Echo article
The News icon Link to the The News article
The News icon Link to the The News article


Residents to be consulted on Greater Hampshire plans


"Hampshire County Council is set to launch an  eight-week public consultation on Wednesday into gathering residents’ views on how the council and the county’s 11 district councils could change or be reorganised."

Wonder if this will be an FBC type of consultation that will only allow for a single outcome? - Looked at the questions and it would seem to be an FBC type thing.

The News iconLink to The News article


Funtley ignored again


Funtley Village Society say that the consultation of the creation of a parish council has been ignored by Fareham Borough Council. 74.5% of Funtley residents want, and are obviously prepared topay the extra precept for their own parish council yet those in the Tower of Power think that a simple talking shop is all that is required.

The News iconGroup takes on Fareham borough in fight for parish council


Portsmouth Southampton and the Isle of Wight team up


Well that's one idea that has hit the buffers. Seems as if the only one left is Roy Parry's idea of a greater Hampshire County Council. I wonder what affect it will have on Solent City.

BBC icon New Solent authority agreed by three councils


Residents should be involved


An organisation called The Southern Policy Centre has recently done some exceptionally interesting work on devolution.

Press release

No reason to leave local voices out of devolution debate says new research report

While local government leaders and councillors debate different proposals for local devolution and combined authorities, the voice of local people are not being heard.

But local people are interested and able to engage in a lively and constructive debate, according to a research report from the University of Southampton and the Southern Policy Centre.

The report of the Citizens Assembly South concludes that

1. Citizens are ready, willing and able to take part in participatory and deliberative forms of democratic practice in relation to complex policy issues.
2. Citizens want stronger devolution with more public involvement. They want to feel part of ‘the revolution in devolution’ and not simply to have change imposed upon them.
3. Political parties, politicians and policy-makers will benefit from thinking more creatively about stimulating informed public engagement and about interacting ‘with multiple audiences in multiple ways’, both for the devolution debate, and in policy-making more generally.
4. Deliberative methods involve significant investment in terms of money, time, energy and relationship building but this should be viewed as a positive social investment that is likely to increase the efficiency of subsequent policies and decisions.
5. There was a clear and significant “spillover effect” from the citizens’ assemblies, with many participants increasing their levels of local political engagement and online activity.
6. Citizens’ assemblies should not be seen in isolation, but instead, if carefully designed, can become the driver of a far broader public debate about an issue, challenge or event

The Citizen Assembly South involved local people and councillors for the Solent area and was held over two weekends last Autumn. It considered, analysed and debate different proposal for devolution in the Hampshire area.

In a letter to local councillors across Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton, Prof John Denham, Chair of the Southern Policy Centre said

‘It’s often said that most people know little about how local government is structured, its power or responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean that they are not interested or able to engage in a lively and constructive debate about changes that could have profound effects on their lives.’

Prof Will Jennings said:

“Assembly South challenged the myth that people are disengaged from politics. When given the chance to assess a range of different positions and possibilities citizens do it with gusto – people are more than capable of grappling with complex questions about the way we are governed. The public should be involved in the debate about the shape of devolution, and the citizens’ assembly model allows thoughtful deliberation on the issues at hand.”

The report is available here. PDF Icon

There are other very informative papers on their website including one about the possible effect on business, this is available here, but it is pretty big - PDF Icon 44 pages and 7.86MB


Let battle commence


After the Deloitte report that cost us £89,000

Southern Power House – the Knights of Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, Southampton, East Hampshire

Fareham Borough Council logo Fareham Borough Council Press Release 03 June 2016

Fareham Leader calls for collaboration ahead of Hampshire Cabinet meeting

Fareham Borough Council Leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, has called for all organisations in the area to work together. The call comes ahead of Hampshire's Cabinet meeting on Monday 6 June to consider a consultation on options for local government in Hampshire.

Cllr Woodward said: "There is the potential for our region to reap great benefits for residents and businesses alike. The Government is offering the Solent region £30M a year for the next 30 years, and we need to make sure we all work together to secure this and get the most out of it.

"Hampshire's plans, which will be put to the cabinet, will save money through local government reorganisation; there are benefits to be had through that approach but it is far more important that we bring these new funds and powers from government to our local area. Government funding has reduced by over 50% since 2008 and all councils have had to respond. At Fareham we have managed to reduce the net cost of providing services by over £3M which equates to a 25% cost reduction and we are on track to reduce costs even further, by another £1M, over the next three years through innovative service delivery and careful investment

"There's no reason we can't both make savings within what we have and attract additional money through a combined authority, but people need to work together."

Fareham Borough Council is one of eight councils working on plans for a Solent Combined Authority which is expected to bring £900M of government funding into the region in the next 30 years to invest in economic growth and housing.

The combined authority would only manage the new powers and funding granted by government, it would not take the place of any of the councils involved which would continue to operate as they currently do.

East Hampshire District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council, Havant Borough Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council would all be represented on the board of the new authority which would be headed by a directly elected mayor.

The combined authority and its mayor would also have responsibility for strategic planning; increasing business productivity; creating better jobs and more jobs; adult education and training; a dedicated transport budget; franchised bus services; the key route network of local authority roads; and delivering 52,000 homes in the next 10 years.


Response from John Coughlan (Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council)

Dear Colleague

Consultation on options for local government in Hampshire

Following my announcement at the County Council AGM on 13 May, attached with this e-mail letter is a copy of the report that will be taken to the County Council’s Cabinet on 6 June regarding the proposed consultation on options for local government in Hampshire, including elected mayors, combined authorities and unitary local government. I also attach a copy of the Executive Summary of the report by Deloitte that was published on the day of the AGM. If you would like a copy of the full report, please let me know.

Since announcing my proposal to consult the people of Hampshire on these vital issues, I have received a great deal of support. A wide range of residents as well as county, district, town and parish councillors (representing numerous different parties) have expressed relief that they will be able to have their say.

I perfectly understand, as District Councillors in Hampshire you will have your own perspective. Those Leaders who met to discuss this on 20 May agreed on the importance of consulting the public before any decisions are made. You will see that the Cabinet report clearly indicates the County Council’s intention to try to achieve a collective consultation, commits to consulting fairly and objectively, and importantly does not endorse any one option prior to the public being consulted.

The report does however, quite reasonably I think given the evidence provided by Deloitte, draw out the arguments as to why a unitary county must be regarded seriously as one of the most plausible options. This option offers lower council tax for the majority of households, savings to the public purse of over £40m a year and minimal risk of damaging critical services such as child protection and highways maintenance.

Some people believe that it is Government policy that a new unitary council cannot serve a population of greater than 700,000. This notional figure is based on an academic study commissioned by DCLG in 2006 – a different era for local government – using population data from 2001. We have taken great care to clarify this issue with civil servants and have been clearly told (including at the Leaders’ meeting on 20 May) not only that Ministers have no policy that would prevent a unitary covering 1.3m people, but also that each case will be taken on its own local merits rather than according to a prescriptive formula.

When you consider that the County Council already serves 1.3m people highly successfully and accounts for over 80% of local government spend in Hampshire, you can see why this is the case.

There is no doubt that, as is the case in neighbouring Wiltshire, there would be a need for area committees to determine local matters as well as a major opportunity for an enhanced role for town and parish councils. A Hampshire Council would also need to have more members than the County Council

I understand that the proposed consultation raises difficult issues but I believe that we should not shy away from these issues and hope that we can work positively together to achieve a common basis for consultation with the residents we all serve.

Read full report

Read full report

Original Deloitte report


Surely it should not be what they want, it should be about what we want. Hampshire County Council are making it clear that they support full consultation and devolution down to all levels of local government and that's how it should be.


So the Deloitte report cost us £89,000


Daily Echo icon Link to the Daily Echo article

Then there is the cost for all of the other reports, whether created by outside consultants or internally, they still cost, and they still haven't asked US what we think.

Selected quotes from the article

"They [the report] included creating one huge council for the whole of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, including creating a unitary council but excluding Southampton and Portsmouth; and creating four or five new unitary councils to cover the “Greater Southampton”, “Greater Portsmouth”, “North Hampshire”, “Central Hampshire” and Isle of Wight areas."

However, the plans were attacked by the leaders of the Solent group, which remains in discussions with the government about its devolution deal, which could see the development of the so-called ‘Solent City’, which would include Southampton, Portsmouth, Havant and East Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

If agreed this summer could see £30m extra funding given to the region each year as well as greater responsibility for areas such as transport, skills and housing."

The one that is missing is leaving things as they are and just making the whole system more open and accountable.



Council leaders hit back in battle for future of Hampshire


Daily Echo icon Link to the Daily Echo article

The News icon Link to the The News article

It just makes you wonder how much time, effort and money has been spent on this and STILL WE HAVEN'T BEEN ASKED what we think.


And now for the official take on Solent City


HCC Icon  HCC Press release

Quote from the press release

"The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry has announced to the County Council at the AGM meeting today (13 May) that before there are any changes in local government structure across Hampshire, whether it be for combined authorities, an elected Mayor or a unitary council, there must be a full and genuine public consultation.

He said he had met very few people who wanted a 'Solent City' established and still fewer who wanted a 'Metro Mayor' anywhere in the area. He felt before councils give in to external pressure it was the people of Hampshire who should have their say".

AND the Deloitte report that would (presumably) have cost an arm and a leg to produce. Why couldn't they just have ASKED US WHAT WE WANTED before going any further? Maybe we would have gone for devolution but if the overwhelming vote was against we would have saved an absolute packet.

Plus a little bit from The News Icon  The News. Try reading the readers comments at the bottom, they make a few very interesting points primarily about vested interests


Devolved Hampshire


The Daily Echo Icon  Link to The Daily Echo article

Roy Parry Keith House Sean Woodward Simon Letts
Roy Parry Keith House Sean Woodward Simon Letts

It looks as if there may be more alternatives to the original devolution idea than you can shake a stick at. It makes you wonder if we, the poor souls that pay for all of this, will EVER be asked what we think of the idea. The one thing that I think we can all be certain of is that whatever happens we will land up with even more than the 6,000 houses at Welborne and the additional 2,000 that PUSH foisted on us after Welborne was supposed to satisfy the requirement for additional housing in Fareham.

"Cllr Sean Woodward, until February a cabinet member on the county council and also leader of Fareham Borough Council, said the proposed countywide unitary was too large.
“Do I support the destruction of the two-tier system in Hampshire? No, I do not. One unitary authority would be far too large, two million people. I can’t see it getting public support.”

But he doesn't know that ANY of the devolution ideas would recieve public support - THEY HAVE NEVER ASKED US.


Latest on devolution


Extract from the minutes of the full council meeting held on 28-04-2016

The Executive Leader had recently attended a meeting in Petersfield which was attended by James Wharton, the Minister for Devolution. The Minister delivered a clear message that the Government was only interested in Devolution deals which include elected Mayors.

Following this, the Executive Leader had attended another meeting in Eastleigh last Friday with all Council leaders. They discussed a number of issues around devolution, the first being the introduction of elected Mayors. The Civil Servant present at the meeting confirmed that without opting for an elected Mayor for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, there was no Devolution deal available as the Government would be concentrating on those areas proposing elected Mayors.

The Executive Leader advised those present at the meeting that Fareham Borough Council did not support an elected Mayor for the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight geography along with the governance proposals which were being put forward locally and that was an almost unanimous view from those Council Leaders present. The discussions moved on to consider whether negotiations should continue with the Government and the Executive Leader pointed out that an offer had been made to Government and that a response was still awaited either for the Government to agree or to come back with counter proposals.

Since then, the only noteworthy change was the Government announcing that business rates would be retained by all local authorities from 2020 and the other part of the offer included significant infrastructure guarantees and the ability to designate green belt. In collecting opinions from those present at that meeting, the question was asked whether Councils would wish to continue with negotiations. The response was that they wanted to hear from the Government what their offer might be but it was unlikely that there would be anything positive, although everyone still remained supportive of the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Devolution deal in principle providing various issues including governance could be satisfactorily resolved.

The general view in the room was they still wished to hear what the Government had to say and, asking around the room what people wished to do, a number of people – not a majority – thought that one option was to look at other options for Local Government which included Combined Authorities, Districts merging or sharing services or Unitarisation.

The Executive Leader confirmed that he has asked the Chief Executive Officer to investigate various structures around local Government and what they might mean for Fareham, highlighting the pros and cons of Combined Authorities, District mergers and Unitarisation. This will be reported back to Members in due course and will reflect the current difficulty of a situation across local Government which will see revenue support from Government being removed in two years’ time, resulting in the need to make further savings.

You Tube iconSee here for the video that pertains to this article.


Minister speaks highly of Solent devolution


Now Greg Clark is in on the act as well.

"PLANS for a Solent Combined Authority received a boost as Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, showed his support at the LEP Network’s annual conference".


£1bn plan for Solent dimissed as 'peanuts'


"A combined authority will not be given enough money to make up for government cuts," Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry said.

But Southampton boss Simon Letts said "the deal would allow a new elected mayor to borrow hundreds of millions to invest in projects like a tram link with Portsmouth.

We had £48 million removed [by the Government], so I’m not overly impressed by an offer to restore £30 million back to it." as revealed in the Daily Echo this week.

Question is would we, the rate payers, want to borrow hundreds of millions to invest in projects like a tram link between Portsmouth and Southampton?

Daily Echo Icon Link to Daily Echo article


Mayoral elections next year


According to the BBC residents will go to the polls next year to choose a single mayor for the Solent region, including Southampton and Portsmouth, it has been revealed.

I am sure that I remember hearing or reading Cllr. Woodward saying that devolution would not add any cost to the rates, but when you take the Mayor's salary plus the staff that they will needplus the gold chain and other regalia that will obviously be necessary to uphold their position, I can't see Hampshire rate payers, whether they be domestic or commercial, getting much change out of another £300,000 a year - but that's just my guess.

BBC Icon Devolution: Solent mayor elections 'in May 2017'

Southampton and Solent region to get directly elected mayor in 2017

Daily Echo Icon Link to Daily Echo article


Hampshire 'could get elected mayor' in this week's budget


Donna Jones said "Councils in the area are hopeful Chancellor George Osborne will reveal the Solent as the latest region to be given devolved powers in Wednesday’s Budget announcement."

It comes after Hampshire County Council rejected the government’s calls that an elected mayor was vital if a deal was to be given the green light. However, Cllr Jones insisted councils across Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Eastleigh, Southampton and East Hampshire had no issue with this.

So whether it's on or not is still totally up in the air - perhaps 16th March will point the way.
The News icon Link to The News article

"Southampton’s leading councillor says the government is set to announce plans for a mayor for the city and Portsmouth.

Cllr Simon Letts says that the announcement will be made as part of the Chancellor’s Budget statement this week."

Shame that he isn't about to announce that the electorate will be asked for their opinion.

The News icon Link to yet another News article

"And there is now optimism among some council leaders that Chancellor George Osborne will announce a deal in Wednesday's Budget."

But they seem to have forgotten to ask us whether we want a Solent City Mayor.

Daily Echo Icon Link to Daily Echo article

And here is how the The News thinks it would work
The News Icon Link to Daily Echo article

Yet Cllr. Letts - Southampton City Council Leader has criticised the Government's handling of the devolution bids, saying: "It's been an absolute shambles."

"First of all we were asked whether we wanted an elected mayor and they wanted our ideas, but then three weeks ago they said we must have a directly-elected mayor.

What's the point in asking us for our ideas if they then tell us what it should be?

At one level we are lucky that it looks like we are getting something when other areas of the country aren't but it's been frustrating, it's poor Government. You're supposed to treat people with respect."

So now he knows how we feel when our views are ignored by our councillors.

Daily Echo Icon Link to Daily Echo article

We already have the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), which represents 12 councils. How PUSH will fit into the new model is yet to be explained.

The News icon Link to The News article


Could the devolution bid mean that we could see the end of our local councils?


Most council leaders in Hampshire rejected the idea of a metro mayor, and it is understood that ministers are now talking to council leaders in southern Hampshire, who were seen to be less resistant to the idea, about a breakaway Solent authority.
Daily Echo Icon Will Solent City be the death of Hampshire?


"Gone then are the current scattering of borough and district councils – Eastleigh, Test Valley, Meon Valley, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Waterlooville – although town councils now enable the links with local populations to remain, of a fashion" The News icon  Fresh problems surround Hampshire devolution bid as county leader fears deal will end ‘in disaster’


Cllr Sean Woodward, Fareham leader, said: ‘Discussions will be ongoing over the next week between officers from the Solent councils and civil servants in the Treasury to determine what deal there might be.’

Daily Echo Icon Could Hampshire's councils be about to disappear?"


There are fears some councils in Hampshire could disappear and be replaced with a huge Solent authority.
Cllr. Perry, HCC Leader said that he "now fears that instead of a Combined Authority, the Government may instead look to create a giant unitary authority for the Solent, which would replace the current councils"

Hampshire Chronicle Icon Or even the end of Hampshire as we know it?


And Cllr Perry says "that could lead to councils in the area being swept away and replaced by one giant council instead, something which was not in the original bid to Government".
Once again the law of unintended consequences kicks in. People really should be careful of what they wish for.


Devolution could split hampshire in two.


BBC Icon Does this report from the BBC mean that all of the effort that was put into this project will need to be re-visited.

Quote from the article:
"Hampshire had a crunch meeting of county and district leaders. This one of the biggest, and most prestigious applications.

One leader told me afterwards "It was a bloody business."

The districts have been spooked by increased housing numbers. All along they've ducked and weaved to avoid the hated election of a "metro-mayor".

Daily Echo Icon And from the The Echo.
Daily Echo Icon and also

The councils involved in a potential Solent authority are Southampton, Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Eastleigh, East Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

I wonder just how much this has cost the council tax payers of Hampshire?


At last night’s Council Meeting there was an announcement on Hampshire's devolution plans.


Because the various parties involved would not accept an elected mayor the government have basically said NO to devolution for Hampshire. Talks are on going but it looks like the plans are going to hit the buffers. Possibly this page will become redundant in the near future. We will just have to wait and see what the future brings.

When the minutes become available I shall post a link here.

For the historical document explaining the relevant councils take click here or scroll down to "Devolution and what it means"

Daily Echo Icon For the Daily Echo article click here
Quote from the article: "The county council, one of the leading negotiators, says further details have now been provided on low-cost housing, infrastructure funding and how decisions are made at a local level.

However one measure they have refused to consider is the election of a metro mayor.

The mayoral role, a major component of government devolution proposals across the country, would have seen a London-style mayor installed at the top of the combined authority with ultimate power over decisions".


At last night’s Council Meeting there was an announcement on Hampshire's devolution plans.

Their vision: ambitious and independent local people and businesses shaping their own future in globally competitive cities, prosperous towns, sustainable villages and productive countryside.

They are in discussions with the Government about our proposals and hope to reach agreement in early 2016.

It will be interesting to see how much interest and notice they take of the residents who will be paying for this. It is supposed to occur WITHOUT any major increase in manpower or cost and without another layer of bureaucracy. If it does happen it will almost certainly be at the cost of adding yet more new housing development, over and above that which has already been planned. Just think, it used to be called Hampshire County Council.


Solent City


Radical shake-up of power puts communities in control

New laws pave the way for the most radical decentralisation of power in generations.

"The devolution revolution is already in full swing with local leaders up in the North East and Tees Valley all the way down to Cornwall in the South West having signed landmark agreements with government." But no mention in this Government press release about Hampshire and Isle Of Wight - YET.

Planning Portal Icon Local devolution legislation makes the statute book



BBC Icon It all seemed to be going so well. The glossy prospectus picked out the South of England's role as a driver of the UK economy, representing the largest "county area" economy in the UK, close in scale to Wales, promising to add £3bn if productivity was raised. But not all councillors are 100% behind the idea.

BBC Icon But some people seem as if they may be getting cold feet over the prospect according to the Petersfield Post.

"DESPITE growing doubts from East Hampshire district councillors about a proposed county wide devolution deal Hampshire County Council is still positive about the bid.

East Hampshire District Council along with all the other local authorities in the county is signed up to the bid for Westminster to devolve more powers to a combined Hampshire authority.

But there is growing unease among district councillors that if the deal goes ahead, the government will insist that more houses are built here."



Devolution Prospectus coverLink to the Hamshire and Isle of Wight Devolution Prospectus pdf icon This PDF file is 38 pages long and 43.8MB so be careful on mobile devices.

"What people want is for more decisions about their futures to be made by those who live and work in their communities. Recent public opinion polling found that in every part of the country, eight out of 10 people of those surveyed supported giving more decision-making powers on issues such as tax, education and policing to local areas"

The above paragraph was lifted straight from English Devolution, Local Solutions for a Successful Nation. pdf icon PDF File 4.11MB 26 Pages

A Local Government Association document that reckons to be able to deliver £11bn in savings, generate at least £80bn in growth and 700,000 new jobs and also build 500,000 new homes.

That is what English local councils believe that they can be a part of.