Local engagement in Dorset merger plans

Residents are being encouraged to complete a survey on the future of local government in Dorset, after receiving minimal response to a consultation.

Out of about 800,000 people, the council's joint chief executives said that 2,805 open survey responses have so far been received. The consultation, which opened two weeks ago, closes on 25 October.

As part of a potential merger, councils are considering four options - including reducing the number of councils in the county from nine to two from 2019 in a bid to save cash.

Another option would be Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole joining forces with the remaining councils forming a second unitary authority. The final option is to retain all nine councils.

Matt Prosser, chief executive of the Dorset Councils Partnership, said: "It is just the start of the process - but we want to hear from as many residents as possible."