District Councillor’s report – October 2015


Devolution Prospectus.   A bid for devolved powers has been submitted to the Government jointly by Winchester City Council and the other 16 local authorities and two enterprise partnerships in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on 4th September.  The ‘prospectus’ outlines the responsibilities and budgets that the councils want to see passed from Westminster to local decision-makers and highlights the potential benefits for local businesses, transport, housing and taxpayers.  It describes how devolution can contribute to boosting business and skills for work, accelerating housing delivery, investing in infrastructure and transforming public services.  It is the first stage in the process and effectively opens negotiations with central Government about the ways in which devolution could benefit Hampshire.  The guiding principle is to make sure that any deal is good for the people of Winchester District as well as the wider county and the Isle of Wight.  Headlines from the prospectus include:

  • Link local services to the success of local business by enabling councils to keep all income from business rates instead of receiving Government funding
  • Set house-building targets locally by giving councils responsibility for setting them through their local plans
  • Protect areas that are most important to local people by giving councils the power to create new green belts around towns and cities
  • Let local people decide which roads, schools and infrastructure are most-needed by giving responsibility for prioritising and delivering them to local authorities
  • Boost workforce skills and productivity by allowing local councils and businesses to influence how funding is used locally
  • Take key decisions about how public money is best-used locally by delegating them to District or Parish Councils where appropriate

Hampshire County Council, Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth and Southampton City Council’s and 11 district councils are working together on the project along with the Solent and Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnerships and New Forest and South Downs National Park Authorities.

The bid has also received the support of Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire & Rescue and NHS England Wessex.  It is important to note that this is not a proposal for a new layer of government.  The councils are asking Government to devolve powers and funding to allow greater local control over matters such as skills, transport, economic prosperity, infrastructure and health and social care. Proposals are built on existing partnerships, powers and responsibilities of the local authorities. They will not involve any change to local boundaries.  The key devolution aim is to raise the standard of living for all our residents while protecting the unique character of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which we will achieve by helping our businesses to thrive.  The councils expect the initiative will also allow them to make savings through administrative efficiencies and economies across the public sector.  Having said all this nothing very much is going to happen very soon!

North Whiteley – Update.   The North Whiteley outline planning application was considered by the Planning Committee on Thursday 10 September.  After detailed consideration the Committee DEFERRED a decision on the application to allow further consideration of the phasing of delivery of the transport infrastructure, this having been identified as an area of concern about which they were not satisfied.

If anyone wishes to engage us on any of the above, or on any matter they believe the district or county council can help with, please do write or contact us: Roger Huxstep is on 01329 833884 or e-mail: rhuxstep@winchester.gov.uk or roger.huxstep@hants.gov.uk or Linda Gemmell is on 01489 895023 and lgemmell@winchester.gov.uk.  Please phone or e-mail for the time and location of our next surgery

With best wishes Roger Huxstep & Linda Gemmell.

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