RENEWED calls have been made to merge a number of bodies in Hampshire into one authority.

A motion was due to be put forward at a Hampshire County Council full council meeting last Thursday, proposing all district local authorities in the county, such as Test Valley Borough Council, unitary authorities of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, and Hampshire County Council come together as one combined authority.

This would also include two local enterprise partnerships and two national parks being part of the authority.

County council leader Councillor Roy Perry said: “Contrary to some recent claims, at no point have I stated that I wish to re-open talks on a ‘mayoral combined authority’ for the Solent area.

“There is a need for speeding up housing delivery, and it is the county council, with its responsibility for highways and education, that has the scale and capacity and capital funds and flexibility to speed up that delivery.

“I am well aware that there have been differing agendas on these issues, and I will of course fully respect any unitary authority which chooses not to engage in this proposal.

“However, I feel that a Hampshire-wide approach offers the best and only realistic opportunity of a platform for real devolution to aid economic development, including in the cities and on the island, while benefitting all residents.”