Three unitary councils in Hampshire have agreed plans to create a Solent Combined Authority but the county council has again warned of the dangers to countywide services if its district councils sign up.
The Isle of Wight Council is part of the Solent Deal
Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils and the Isle of Wight Council last week launched a consultation on their plans for a ‘Solent Deal’, which they are negotiating with the Government to secure extra powers and funding their area.
The councils said the deal ‘would give the region £900m over the next 30 years to improve infrastructure, transport and housing, and provide training and skills and support for business.'
Portsmouth council leader Donna Jones: ‘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.
‘This is a really positive and exciting step forward for residents and businesses in South Hampshire and can give them better opportunities and outcomes for years to come. After months of hard work we finally have something we can show to the public and I'm keen we get the opinions of as many people as possible from across our area.’
Devolution options across Hampshire have been the subject of a long-running dispute between the unitary councils and Hampshire CC, with the possibility of two separate combined authorities in the county.
On Wednesday (27 July) Hampshire will launch its own consultation on devolution options.
It said: ‘The consultation concerns the county of Hampshire - the area covered by Hampshire County Council and the 11 district councils in Hampshire - not the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton or the Isle of Wight. However, some of the options for change in Hampshire do refer to the two cities and the Island.’
Council leader Roy Perry said: 'Since the proposal for a Solent combined authority emerged involving the councils for Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight with the potential to include Hampshire district councils in the future, we face the prospect of the county being split, and the damage that this would do to high quality, countywide services.’
He also directly criticised the Solent Deal consultation as ‘seeking views on something they have already agreed in principle’.