Cllr. Robert New slams Portsmouth South Labour MP

Newly elected MP asks Government to delay £Millions awarded to protect his own constituents and businesses.

The newly elected MP for Portsmouth South, Cllr. Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Secretary of State to ask the government to withhold and delay £5.9m recently awarded for the Southsea Sea and Flood scheme design phase which could of potentially caused delays and disruption to the UK's biggest coastal defence project.

This important scheme is set to protect more than 4000 homes and 600+ businesses in his own constituency.

Cllr Robert New, Cabinet Member for Environment & Community Safety said,

"As the Labour Spokesman for this portfolio, Cllr Morgan would have been fully briefed about the progress of the scheme had he been able to attend portfolio meetings, but more often than not he cancelled at the last minute and sent apologies. Indeed had Cllr. Morgan contacted me or the Leader of the City Council, or indeed any of our officers working on the project, we'd have been happy to have spent time with him going through the scheme to date. Instead to just try to stop the funds for this desperately needed project being awarded is just bizarre and so I am pleased that the Secretary of State will not be delaying our funding as a result of this ill-thought-out intervention."

Only this week before Mr. Morgan’s letter to the Secretary of State was uncovered, Council Officers had been instructed to invite both city MPs to a briefing following the confirmation of funding for the design work and to answer any concerns that they might have so that they could proactively and factually inform constituents on the scheme.

No contract for construction has yet been awarded and the scheme is about to enter into the design phase of the scheme.

The public, as well as all Portsmouth politicians will have an opportunity to feed their ideas and concerns into the scheme via public consultation once the designers are in place and we have something to present to the public that meets all the criteria of DEFRA, which will hopefully be by the end of this year.

Feedback and ideas will be very welcome and will be reviewed and considered to help create a final detailed design that will then go forward to the planning application stage. The final designs will also go forward to a further round of public consultation too.

Cllr Robert New added, "I would also like to place on record my thanks to other councillors from the other political parties for their interest, proactive ideas and support since 2014 and for coming to see me regularly with concerns and ideas while the project has been in its very infancy.

After the positive news that the project had received the green light from Government to start the design work and the award of £5.9m for design work was forthcoming, we’re starting regular communications for the public as the scheme enters into its next exciting phase and a full communications plan will be created with the designers once they are in place."

Cllr. Robert New

Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety.

Portsmouth City Council

cllr.robert.new@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

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