Council's AGM marks 25 years of a Lib Dem council led by Keith House
A Councillor has praised Council Leader Keith House describing his leadership of the council over the past 25 years as ‘strong and stable’ – a phrase normally associated with Theresa May. The Liberal Democrat Leader first took control of Eastleigh Borough Council in May 1994 and the party has won every local election here since then, taking the Liberal Democrat group from a majority of 2 in 1994 to 28 in 2019.
Cllr Ian Corben spoke out at the start of the Council’s Annual General Meeting yesterday which was held at Kings Community Church in Hedge End. He told councillors that the phrase ‘strong and stable’ best described the manner in which the Council had been led by Keith House as leader saying:
“His leadership in driving liberal beliefs values and policies is nationally recognised and provides flagship for other councils to follow.”
Other councillors used the meeting as an opportunity to pay tribute to members who had left the council at the election on May 2.
Cllr David Airey said he was sorry that long-serving Conservative Councillor Michael Hughes had lost his seat in Hiltingbury. The member for Hamble and Netley said he wanted to thank Hughes for his “enormous support” when they had sat together on licensing committees.
Cllr Dan Clarke also had a few words to share about Cllr Hughes describing him as “kind, always very friendly and a real gentleman.”
Cllr House said the that delivering the Local Plan would be the most important thing the council had to do in the next year, there was as yet no date for the public examination but it was expected to be in the autumn. The Local Plan would address the “vital need” to deliver more affordable homes for residents across the borough.
The leader said that the council was already going some way to meet that need and had an eight-year land supply. He added that during the previous year the council had delivered “a record” 461 affordable homes.
Cllr House also described how EBC were filling local gaps in the County Library service by opening libraries in Hamble and Bursledon.
Bursledon would be benefitting from a new relief road and a country park while at Hedge End the council were considering new retail options for the vacant Budgens supermarket which was now in council ownership as was St Johns Wood which will be open to the public as an amenity.
The Lib Dem leader also said that work would start soon on phase two of the Sundays Hill by-pass and that the council would overseeing the development of more affordable homes at Horton Heath as well as examining measures to relieve traffic congestion along the Bishopstoke corridor. Also in the pipeline is the opening of a new play area on the Sirocco Park Estate and in Hiltingbury work is due to begin to improve the Lakes and to build a new sports pavilion.
Cllr House said:
“We have a very busy year ahead of us as a council. A year that will deliver infra-structure, community consultation and more affordable housing. This council has a record we can be proud of because we work together as a team of councillors and officers. Advising other councils e deliver the goods for our people. That’s a promise we’ll keep on keeping into the future.”
The AGM also convenes to announce the appointment of Councillors to sit on the various committees – these are determined in advance – and the allocation of members to committees and the appointment of Chairs was queried by the Independent group see additional report here.
Finally at the suggestion of the Leader the council unanimously voted to combine the AGM with the Mayor Making ceremony in future.