East Dorset DC rejects merger proposal

East Dorset District Council has voted against a plan to replace Dorset’s nine councils with two unitary authorities.

The plan involved one unitary authority serving the east and the other serving the west of the county, a move which will help save the region £108 million over six years. However, the local authority rejected the proposal with 17 votes against to just 12 in favour.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Purbeck councils are still set to vote on the plans, while Dorset County Council, Borough of Poole, West Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have all voted in favour of the mergers.

Cllr Spencer Flower, Leader of the Council, East Dorset District Council, said: “Members voted against the recommendations to support the case for change for local government in Dorset. Changes to the structure of local government in Dorset would present an historic opportunity to transform our services at a time when budgets are being cut and our priority must be protecting front-line services.

“Whilst the majority of members of this council may not support the case for change, if other councils in Dorset choose to make a submission to the Secretary of State, the final decision regarding local government reorganisation will not be ours to make. It is now vital that East Dorset continues to engage in this process to ensure we get the best possible outcome for our residents.”

When the councils reach a decision, they will submit a joint proposal to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for communities and local government.