I live in the leafy suburb of Hiltingbury which is managed by Eastleigh Borough Council which we know has racked up debts which are frighteningly and seemingly uncontrollably high.

We understand that the Government has intervened to order the council to reduce this significant debt which has arisen from property investments - their property portfolio includes the Ageas Bowl.

The council apparently owes well over half a billion pounds, probably on its way to a billion pounds by now, 45 times its core spending power.

We have all been assured by the council leader that these extravagant investments are protecting essential public services; I beg to differ.

The gutters in our local streets have not been swept since the autumn leaf fall and the leaves have decomposed into a deep, rich soil in which earthworms thrive and drains are blocked.

A local resident has actually taken it upon him/her self to utilise these germination beds - formerly known as gutters - to plant a row of spring flowers.

Perhaps they could also be used to plant peas and lettuces as they are certainly not functioning as gutters should.

In some streets, weeds and wild flowers flourish naturally. I haven’t seen aroadsweeper in months.

There has got to be a correlation between the failure of EBC to perform essential services and its struggle to manage its debt mountain.

It comes to something when my wife and I, at the age of 80, had to spend a morning with shovel and stiff broom scraping up the mud and rotting leaves from outside our house as we could wait no longer for official action because we take pride in the appearance of our property and surroundings.

We filled an entire green bin with the muck we cleared and are paying the council to take it away.

This whole ridiculous scenario raises serious issues about local politicians and officers, with no apparent accountability, running up huge debts which they are incapable of managing.

Investment is always a risk and, in this case I fear, a gamble that has got out of control.

Bob Sprague

Chandler’s Ford