PLANS for a new devolved Solent super authority have been scrapped, it has been reported.

The scheme, which would have seen Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight team-up for a new Solent Combined Authority, have been dismissed by government bosses.

The news was first reported by Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, though no formal notification has been issued to the three authorities.

Mr Morgan said he was advised the Solent proposals were no longer being considered in a letter from Devolution Minister Jake Berry.

In the letter, Mr Berry said the 2016 devolution deal "is not on the table".

Mr Morgan said: “I was very disappointed to hear the devolution plans were no longer being considered and even more disappointed that the government hadn't even told the councils.

"This scrapping of our bid without notification is a kick in the teeth for Portsmouth and means our city missing out on millions in much-needed funding.

"The Solent region has the potential to achieve so much more, but it needs government to finally give us the funding and power we need.

Daily Echo:

"The devolution plans were a vehicle for this.

"If the government is intent on ignoring them, they must step up with an alternative.

"I've been raising questions with ministers to get to the bottom of this and will continue to lobby government to back our city with proper funding."

The proposed combined authority would have taken on responsibility for services currently managed by central government - as another layer of local government.

Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council and the Isle of Wight Council would have continued to maintain their local services.

It was hoped the deal would have secured £900m of new funding for the area over 30 years.

Council Leaders in the area have expressed their disappointment at the news the region will not be gaining new powers and funding.

Cllr Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: "Almost two years after we submitted our proposal to the government, I'm pleased they have apparently provided a written response – although they have not yet had the courtesy to write directly to the local authorities involved.

"After all the hard work that was put into a compelling and workable bid it’s extremely disappointing that they have apparently decided not to proceed with the deal which would have benefitted the lives of local people.

Daily Echo: Councillor Chris Hammond

"I'd like to thank all the local residents who took the time to take part in our consultation, and assure them that we will continue to make the case for greater powers and funding to be moved from central government to our city and region."

Cllr Mark Hook, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: "Devolution has the potential to bring real tangible benefits to the Solent region including Gosport and its residents. It's disappointing that government has ended this process and Gosport Borough Council hasn't even had a deal on the table to consider being part of and been denied the opportunity to deliver the economic boost our town deserves and needs."

Cllr Keith House, Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said: "Only through handing powers back to local areas will we ever be able to join up jobs, housing, transport and health. England has the most centralised decision-making in Europe. It's a step backwards for government to pull the plug on devolution."

More to follow...