In My View: Ideas for Southampton City Council
As a near neighbour to the city, I know that it is always a bit dangerous to comment on issues that primarily affect Southampton City Council.
That said, it sometimes helps to be able to stand aside and look at things from a different perspective.
I have to say that when consulted, the residents of Marchwood, (whom I represent on Hampshire County Council), were not especially thrilled by the prospect of a new Biomass Plant being constructed on port land in Southampton.
There are two main reasons for this. In the New Forest, we do not welcome any proposals that mean port land being used up for any other purpose than port use. It increases the danger that we will once again see another attempt to develop Dibden Bay, or other parts of the New Forest coast as a commercial port. The building itself is also not a terribly attractive addition to the skyline.
Of course, I can quite see that if you live in the Freemantle area of the city, the visual impact is far more significant. It is frankly hardly surprising that so many people are very strongly opposed to the plans.
Now, if I may offer a bit of neighbourly advice?
First…contact my Liberal Democrat council colleagues in Portsmouth. I’m pretty confident that they have areas of land that could accommodate this sort of facility, places where there is unlikely to be the same sort of opposition, indeed, I understand it would be quite welcome!
My second advice is that the plans to hold a referendum on whether the Biomass Plant should be built should be shelved. There is no point spending £75,000 to prove public opinion is against the proposals. Everybody knows this is the case.
My third bit of advice is to spend the money you would have wasted on the referendum on repairing Oaklands swimming pool and helping settle its’ future, perhaps with some volunteer help.
If the advice is followed, the Labour group that runs the City Council would become more popular and united. Instead of the two Councillors who have been fighting for this important facility being punished, they can be brought back on board and help the council in the important mission of balancing the books.
Just a few ideas, that might help. I can only hope they are received in the spirit intended!