At a meeting of Full Council held today, Dorset councillors agreed to make a submission to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requesting that Dorset’s nine councils should be replaced by two new unitary councils based upon:
- the weight of public opinion across Dorset
- financial considerations
- and evidence of the likely benefits of change to the county as a whole
Councillors agreed that the two new unitary councils should comprise of the following existing local authority areas:
- Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (including delivering the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in Christchurch).
- Unitary B: East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland (including the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area).
Leader of DCC Robert Gould said:
“This is absolutely the right decision for Dorset County Council to have made. The final decision lies with the Secretary of State, but Dorset County Councillors have made an historic decision today which will help protect the frontline services and is in the best interests of all our residents.”
The vote from the Borough of Poole went the same way on Tuesday. Councillor Janet Walton, Leader of the Borough of Poole, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Poole to be given a strong voice on a national platform, achieve sustainable services, unlock opportunities to fulfil the ambitions and aspirations for our town, while protecting our history and heritage for future generations.
“There is a compelling case for changing local government structures in Dorset. The evidence from the public consultation showed there was clear support from residents, businesses and other stakeholders for moving to two councils. There was also a clear public preference for one council serving the conurbation of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch and with the other serving the rest of Dorset. I firmly believe this option represents the best opportunity to reduce costs, improve public services and enhance the quality of life and prospects of our local residents.“
All Councils in Dorset are formally considering the situation. West Dorset and Weymouth today; North Dorset friday; East Dorset Monday 30th; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Purbeck Tuesday 31st.
It looks like a decision has been made as to how local Councils ‘should’ move forward to fall in line with Government requests of a combined authority. I do so hope Christchurch won’t lose it’s individuality and become lost in the bureaucracy between the larger Poole & Bournemouth conurbations. Although Christchurch is not yet to commit until the end of the month from all information we have gathered we feel they are going to go with the flow. We can only wait but see!