People in Chandler's Ford have given the first verdict on controversial plans which could see Eastleigh Borough submerged into a new greater Southampton.
New Government plans give large unitary authorities, such as Southampton, the opportunity to submit plans to extend their boundaries in a new blueprint for the reorganisation of Local Government.
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly has issued an ‘invitation to councils in England to consider making an application. If they went ahead, Chandler’s Ford and Hiltingbury, currently within the Hampshire County Council and Eastleigh Borough Council area would be wholly run from the Civic Centre in Southampton.
Steve Brine, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the new Winchester constituency, which takes in the whole of Chandler’s Ford, is backing the campaign launched earlier this month by the Leader of Eastleigh’s Conservative Group, Cllr Godfrey Olson.
Steve says; “The response in a matter of weeks has been unequivocal from local people. More than 600 people have posted back our petition saying they wish to preserve the independence of Eastleigh Borough. At a time when public participation in local democracy is low, I do not believe we will turn things around by making local government more remote from the communities they are meant to serve.”
Cllr Olson adds; “Local Conservatives believe Eastleigh Borough should continue to set its own council taxes and its priorities for service delivery based on the wishes of local people. I have nothing against Southampton but I do not want our Borough to lose its identity and watch as our towns and villages become joined up suburbs of the city. I urge everyone to speak up now while we have the chance.”
Time is short for local people to add their voice to the Conservative campaign; ministers want an answer to their invitation by 25th January 2007.
Members of the public wishing to sign-up should email firstname.lastname@example.org All responses will be will be used to support a Motion being put to the next Eastleigh Borough Council meeting by Councillor Olson.