What do you think of the proposal for a new Parish council for Eastleigh?

Consultation could create one or more new parish or town councils for the area

In October 2020, the Borough Council’s Administration Committee voted to proceed with a community governance review (CGR) aimed at bringing the Eastleigh town area into line with the ten other parish and town councils across the Borough.

The proposal to bring more locally focused decision-making to Eastleigh town centre and its surrounding neighbourhoods was agreed by Borough Councillors on Monday 12 October. A public consultation is now under way that could create one or more new parish or town councils for the area.

Residents in the area covered by the CGR have received a letter, together with a link to an online survey asking for their views.

The move is part of the Borough Council’s commitment to give residents greater ownership and control over the day-to-day activities and services delivered on their behalf, such as the maintenance of open spaces and play areas, the management of community buildings, cemeteries and local car parks.

If the wider Eastleigh town centre is ‘parished’, householders would be represented by elected councillors who could be responsible for more tightly drawn local areas than the much larger Borough Council wards administered by the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, which has a more strategic role; they would also have a greater say in how the budget for local services is spent.

The area covered by the community governance review is bordered by Allbrook parish in the north, the M27, Test Valley and Southampton City border to the south, the M3 to the west, and the River Itchen boundary with the Bishopstoke and West End parish areas.

Residents in this area are being asked for their views on options for how the first tier of local democracy might be structured. These include having one town/parish council covering the whole area, or a number of smaller parish councils dedicated to specific and clearly identifiable neighbourhoods.

Council Leader, Councillor Keith House, said: “The Borough Council’s Local Area Committees have a strong record of working in partnership with our town and parish councils to provide excellent facilities and services. The community governance review reflects our commitment to increasing local accountability and bringing service delivery and decision-making as close to local residents as possible. We will be encouraging everyone in the town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods to have their say in how their local area should be run.”

If approved, elections to a new council or councils would take place in 2022.

Survey for residents living in Eastleigh town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods

If you live in the area covered by the Community Governance Review you should have received a letter from the Council inviting you to take part in our survey. Please note that completed surveys from addresses outside the CGR area will not be considered as part of the consultation.

Have to say I don’t really get the point, is it causing any problems today?

I think it’s important. The way councils are going, they want more devolution so the parishes will take more responsibility (rightly) but the financing needs to flow with it.

It’s rare I agree with the Lib Dems but on this issue it’s correct (imo), we need a local Eastleigh parish council.

Parish and town councils can be more responsive than let’s say for the sake or argument county councils if you have a Tory run county council. But there are lots of hidden costs.

They have usually been exempt from caps imposed on council tax increases. By devolving responsibilities from the borough to parishes and town councils, the Lib Dems have introduced stealth council tax increases.

I have blogged about this in the past:

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Wow, that’s fascinating that they’ve jumped so much. I wonder how much the prices have jumped since? I know bulky waste is up again, it was £60 for them to collect a fridge freezer.

My bet is most people will be blind to these stealth rises as everyone focuses on the council tax as being the bill paid to the council.

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There is also the unhappy experience of Southsea Town Council. It was abolished only 11 years after it was set up. Like Southsea, Eastleigh Town is a largely urban area. Unlike Eastleigh, Southsea was the first attempt to impose another layer of bureaucracy in an otherwise unparished council area.

https://www.nalc.gov.uk/library/our-work/create-a-council-resources/1368-southsea-town-council-portsmouth/file

Great read, Keith. I’m definitely wavering with the more details I see.