Our Eastleigh Local Manifesto
Eastleigh Labour Party, with input and guidance from residents of Eastleigh Borough, have created this local manifesto to put forward our policy commitments. We are guided by our core values and want to ensure Eastleigh’s largest political party represents local people and our community.
Our Manifesto Index
Labour's Vision for the Borough of Eastleigh
We must accept the COVID crisis showed the reality so many already knew: ‘Normal’ was not working. Austerity, mass building of unaffordable houses and relying on big business to set up shop in Eastleigh for the town to achieve economic growth.
Our vision is a simple one. Our councils should be there to serve local people and strengthen our communities. This will make Eastleigh better.
This has been central to this manifesto from the beginning, where we opened the process to the community for public submissions. The policies you read in this manifesto were created by and in consultation with: Labour members, trade unionists, local businesses and residents of Eastleigh Borough. In short; this manifesto was written by the community.
We will always put you, the people, first. We will invest in our community and grow our economy. Our vision is focused on the future. That means a commitment to tackling the climate crisis, embracing new technology and working in the long term.
We want Eastleigh to be about a strong community: One where we look after each other. Where you can find an affordable home, and where our town and village centres are thriving centres of wealth creation, where the wealth serves and enriches the entire community.
We need your help. We are not going to sugar coat it; this vision will take a long time to achieve. On May 6th, we need your vote. Our fight for a fairer, stronger, better Eastleigh will take time. We hope this document will convince you to help us start that fight in earnest this May.
Building our economy
We want a thriving local economy in our Borough. There is no denying we face an uphill battle. Too many shopfronts were empty before COVID-19. For too long Eastleigh Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have done next to nothing to grow our local economy.
We have approved a radical new approach to building our local economy called Community Wealth Building. You can read about that here: (link to website) This will guide our future Labour councillors as we deliver the change Eastleigh needs to make it better.
We are committed to:
- The establishment of a Community Wealth Building Strategy for Hampshire and Eastleigh Borough – Including the creation of a cabinet position for Community Wealth Building on both councils.
- Fiscal rule banning council spending outside the locality, unless on collaborative projects with neighbouring authorities.
- End wasteful consultancy spending.
- Support and grow community owned businesses and cooperatives.
- Facilitate a community shares scheme; allowing local people to invest in local businesses.
- End outsourcing of council services wherever it is possible and desirable.
- Work towards increasing union recognition in local businesses.
- Support and work towards all businesses in the locality paying the living wage to employees.
- Set up a local economic forum where councillors, businesses, cooperatives, and trade union representatives from the locality can meet regularly to discuss the economic affairs of the locality and to encourage innovation and collaboration
- Cutting councillor expenses and implementing a rule that any increase in councillors’ allowance can only occur if council staff receive an equal percentage increase.
- Renovate, overhaul and install public toilets throughout the borough to make neighbourhood centres more appealing locations.
- Divesting council assets from pollutive industries, and redirecting to emergent green projects,
- Establish a Hampshire Jobs listings site, to enable easier access to local employment opportunities for residents.
Eastleigh’s green future
The climate crisis is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. We accept the need for urgent action to solve this. If Eastleigh is going to have a future it must be a green one!
Environmentalism and green innovation will be at the heart of everything we do, to bring about the green future Eastleigh deserves. We will:
- Increase availability of public use recycling bins throughout the borough, alongside general waste bins.
- Work towards increasing the scope of existing recycling to minimise all general waste.
- Oppose the expansion of Southampton Airport, as long as the climate cost of air travel remains so high.
- Work with neighbouring authorities and government to try and bring in more public transport routes.
- Review plans and possibilities for cycle lanes and encourage cycling wherever possible.
- Mandate major developments to provide cycling and footpaths
- Require housing developments to ensure wildlife habitats are enhanced. Wildlife corridors, or new habitats should be created to increase biodiversity wherever possible.
- Designate some open green spaces for rewilding and reforesting efforts.
- Explore mechanisms, including collaborative projects with neighbouring authorities for a Microgeneration scheme for homes and new developments for renewable energy.
- Lobby government for increased rail provision to greater connect our borough.
- Increase urban greenery to help increase air quality.
- Put environmental concerns at the centre of council decision making
- Strengthen enforcement of tree preservation orders
- Work with local farmers and landowners towards the removal of pesticides and take steps to encourage pollinating insect populations to thrive in our area.
- Explore the creation of an Eastleigh green energy cooperative.
- Encourage the creation of “green, living walls” on existing and new builds, to improve air quality.
- Working towards reducing the number of high emission vehicles in Eastleigh
The right homes, in the right places.
The Eastleigh of the future needs a different approach to housing development, where we can build the houses we so desperately need but protect our environment by working in partnership with nature.
- Support a council housing revolution; by prioritising good quality council housing in all required developments
- Establish a target for housing developments for the total affordable and social housing provision makes up 70% of the proposed development. So we can build the homes we need, and not overdevelop our area. Negotiate with developers as sites are identified to achieve this
- Prioritise urban renewal and rejuvenation in preference to new developments in green spaces
- Create a tenants’ forum to address private renters’ issues.
- Lobby government to deliver promised infrastructure spending for new developments
- Embrace new technologies and methods to ensure new developments can be as ‘green’ as possible
- Establish care homes community: To allow greater access to arts, local festivals and events and encourage cross cooperation between them, the wider community and council
- Not allow developers to financially contribute their way out of compromising on affordable housing or climate preservation measures
- Ensure any developer contributions will be spent on improving green transport infrastructure and air quality improvement measures.
- Take measures, where possible; to discourage excessive buy to rent on new builds
- Ban development on sites within air quality management areas.
Strengthening our Community
At the start of the COVID crisis, we showed that despite it all we are still a community. Hundreds of people came together to form voluntary organisations to support friends and neighbours and even people they did not know through the crisis. We are proud of all our members and residents that stepped up to take part in that effort.
It is in that spirit that we want to strengthen the bonds of our community. To accomplish this, we will:
- Investigate the re-opening and supporting of sure start centres.
- Work with communities to re-introduce night-time street lighting, including the use of innovative new technology to facilitate this.
- Work closely with Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver better policing to our area.
- Continue to do more to support volunteering organisations and volunteers by taking a more active role in that sector and introducing new council schemes. For example, community gardens.
- Consult with visiting traveller communities with a view to setting up official sites in suitable locations to reduce community tensions and anti-Gypsy, Roma and Traveller racism.
- Work with Black, Asian and other ethnic minority community organisations and residents to ensure council is doing all it can to stamp out racism from our community.
- Work with religious and community organisations to facilitate joint projects across communities and encourage cooperation and understanding,
- Establish young people’s forums for under 18s through schools, where councillors will come into schools to listen to young people’s concerns.
- Work with stakeholders, public sector institutions and local organisations to offer more mental health support wherever we can.
- Work with council staff and relevant stakeholders to increase Women’s safety from domestic abuse and violence. This should include, expanding access to training wherever possible, lobbying government for greater nationally lead solutions, and working with experts to develop new policy to address this issue on a local level.
- Work towards the greater provision and protection of public rights of way.
Opening our Democracy
On average, only 1/3 people vote in local elections. Council meetings are lucky to be attended by more than ten members of the public. Successive councils’, Conservative and Liberal Democrat, have failed to reverse this.
We need an active, participatory democracy to turn this trend around. Labour is clear, that if we can get more people involved in decision making in our area, our councils will start to make better decisions!
To achieve this Labour will:
- Hold regular public drop-in surgeries, hosted by Labour Councillors
- Offer ‘pop up surgeries’ where residents can request a councillor comes to their street to discuss local issues.
- Institute regular recording, and broadcasting of council meetings on relevant local government websites.
- Publish recordings of meetings on relevant local government websites.
- Take measures to improve public participation at meetings at all levels.
- Investigate and pilot citizens assemblies schemes for major projects; whereby a representative group of residents are selected to debate and come to decisions on projects to then advise the council on what decision to take.
- Use public forums and town hall sessions, run by sitting councillors to bring decision making to the people.
- Introduce a new level of openness in council expenditure, with a commitment to fully release all details of any spending within 12 months. Unless legally required not to do so.
- Commission a redesign of council websites, at every level to make them more accessible and easier to navigate.
- Organise and facilitate the running of public town hall debates.
Labour’s evolving commitment to the people of Eastleigh Borough
In this manifesto you can see a radical, forward thinking, and aspirational vision for making Eastleigh better. The plans and vision we lay out commit our candidates to campaign for these policies. This is not the be all and end all, of our policy ambitions. We are sure there will be more ideas out there, and new better ways of doing things will appear over time. This manifesto will change with those new ideas, but the core vision will remain the same.
Labour remains committed to changing the status quo in Eastleigh. Rebuilding our communities and embracing the future together. The inactive, market driven politics of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties have failed our area. Like so many de-industrialised towns in England, Eastleigh is left behind by a failed dogma of national politics: Race to the bottom, extractive economics has failed our area. Labour opposes this failed way of doing things, and instead wants to see Eastleigh run by, and for its people. A vibrant, community led and open democracy, that encourages the community to set up, run and own new businesses, where the wealth is shared in the community.
We will do everything in our power at a local level to improve the lives of the people but we accept Councils’ can only do so much. They are held back by the Conservatives in Westminster and strangled by continued cuts to local government. We firmly believe Eastleigh’s future will be best served by the election of a transformative Labour government. By electing Labour representatives, you are sending a clear message to the establishment that Eastleigh demands change.
Together we will build a better Eastleigh Borough from the ground up.