THOSE who oppose Southampton’s expansion forget one inconvenient fact – for the older generation as children, there was no Redbridge, Harefield, or Thornhill and definitely no Lordshill.

Southampton was bursting for lack of accommodation and suitable industrial land, with not one of the surrounding authorities anxious or willing to help.

When land was obtained it came invariably with conditions; the Lordshill expansion was sanctioned by the government on the condition that we accepted “London overspill” families.

As residents became more affluent, more and more bought their first home outside of the city limits, resulting in those same areas expanding until they started to impose their problems [yes it works both ways] on the city. Traffic congestion is the prime example.

The reality that people refuse to face is really quite simple, the “South Hampshire” structure plan in which I played a part had but a limited success, today we need [must] go further with the integration of the two cities. It does not make sense with one council taking action in isolation.

I give you two of many examples. The first will I am sure will surprise no one: “Park and Ride”. Both Eastleigh and Southampton face identical problems, Eastleigh admittedly to a different degree, one site near the junction of the M3/M27 could provide the answer.

The second is the docks expansion across the river, seen by most as inevitable if we are to continue as the lead provider in this particular field of containerisation.

Does it really make sense to be situated in land controlled by two different authorities? Absolutely not!

There are of course very real problems to overcome.

In reality we need three or more new “Metropolitan Councils” covering the whole of Hampshire, and in the process eliminate Hampshire County Council.

The “gaps” that concern Councillor Bundy would be more adequately protected, the truth unfortunately is that much of the encroachment [ Rownhams is an example ] into the green belt is from the from the smaller councils who in many cases “doth protest too much”.

So indeed do many of the residents who fearing such a move will still continue to decry “this or that failure” on the part of the city council to act, whilst enjoying the benefits but not the cost.

Alan Reynard of Southampton.