As devolution negotiations could be approaching a decisive point regarding the possible formation of a Combined Authority in Hampshire, Councillor Seán Woodward has offered to stand down from his role as Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment – to avoid any possible perception of a conflict of interest, should he make decisions which relate specifically to South Hampshire while also being the Leader of Fareham Borough Council – which has given ‘in principle’ support to negotiating on a devolution deal specifically for South Hampshire.
Councillor Seán Woodward said: “While I have very much enjoyed fulfilling my role as the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment on Hampshire County Council over the past three years, neither I nor the County Council can afford any potential for suggestion that I may favour one part of Hampshire over another -while negotiations are ongoing around a possible devolution deal for South Hampshire – which would involve the new Combined Authority assuming economic development and transport powers.”
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “Councillor Woodward has been an excellent Executive Member of the County Council and I have valued his input. He and I are agreed however, there must be no opportunity for any misperception that Executive Members of the County Council would have anything other than the interests of the whole of Hampshire at the forefront of their minds when taking Executive Decisions for the County Council. For this reason, I have agreed that Councillor Woodward should stand down as the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment.
“I am asking Councillor Mel Kendal who is currently Cabinet Member for Income and Capital Receipts to include Economic Development in his brief, and Councillor Rob Humby currently Assistant to the Executive – Rural Affairs Champion, to become a full Member as Executive Member for Environment and Transport.
“I continue to be in close dialogue with the Government to see how we might achieve a rational devolution deal for the whole of Hampshire, rather than just a part of the county.”
*pictured – Roy Perry