Christchurch Council supports referendum proposal

Christchurch Borough Council has voted in favour of a proposed referendum on local government reorganisation in Dorset.

At the Extraordinary Full Council meeting on 21 March, councillors voted 13:9 in favour of conducting a referendum to create two new unitary authorities in Dorset.

The deadline for the referendum postal vote is yet to be confirmed but residents will be given approximately two weeks to return their ballot paper.

Cllr David Flagg, acting leader of Christchurch Borough Council, said: “Our priority is to ensure our residents’ views are represented. With the minded to decision on the Future Dorset submission expected from the Secretary of State imminently it is important that we continue to seek the best possible outcome for residents of Christchurch. Members were mindful of the advice of the Chief Finance Officer and have therefore chosen to undertake the referendum using a postal vote to ensure best value for money.

“Holding a referendum will allow us to find out if residents are for or against being part of a unitary authority with Bournemouth and Poole and once we have this information we can decide the best way forward. Although not legally binding, the result of the referendum could be incorporated within representation to the Secretary of State.

“If residents do not support local government reorganisation we will work on alternative options for the Secretary of State to consider. However, if the results show support for unitary councils in Dorset then members will have to look at our position to ensure we represent the views of our residents.”

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