On Monday, 26 February 2018, Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, gave his decision about the proposed merger with Bournemouth and Poole, to form a ‘supercouncil’, a Unitary Authority. The aim of this is to increase efficiency and save money, by combining functions of both County and local administrations.
This may seem like a sensible, logical idea. However, many were against it, as was I. There was particularly a feeling that little Christchurch might be seen as relatively insignificant compared to its much larger neighbours.
- Bournemouth: 197,660 (2018)
- Christchurch: c 56,000
- Poole: 151,500 (2018)
However, it might not be over yet! This has been going on for some time, and involved a County-wide questionnaire and a local referendum which took place in Christchurch. All pages related to the merger so far are available in the archives, available on the Governance Menu on this site. Instead of creating additional pages, the latest item will be bookmarked at the top, and there is space for comments at the bottom of this page.
Two statements, one of support and one of opposition.
STATEMENT BY CLLRS Bath, Nottage, Smith, Watts, Davies, Hallam, Spittle, Fox and Grace.
We want to put behind us the divisions created by this long-awaited decision and work together with our fellow Councillors to ensure a smooth transition of services into the new authority.
‘The opportunities the new council creates should be grasped by all Christchurch councillors who now need to work closely with Councillors from Bournemouth and Poole to embrace the chance to deliver a future proof Council across the conurbation for all residents.
‘By working in partnership with our neighbours we can ensure that the things that matter most to us in Christchurch are carried forward into the new structure.
‘Now is the time to embrace the opportunities this brings for future generations by ensuring our voice is heard both locally and in central government to protect our heritage, grow our economy and improve our roads and schools, this can only be achieved by working in harmony together. Let’s stop the fighting and get on with the business we were elected to do, to get the best deal for the people of Christchurch.’
STATEMENT BY THE KEEP CHRISTCHURCH SPECIAL GROUP
I am sure all members of the Keep Christchurch Special group will be bitterly disappointed by the decision of the Secretary of state, which is in clear and flagrant breach of the undertakings given to parliament by Mr Javid, his predecessor, and also of the Conservative election manifesto in 2017 to which Mr Javid had committed himself.
This proposal is based on financial figures which time after time have been called into serious question, on a visionary and poorly structured “Case for Change” and on a public consultation which was shown by the Christchurch referendum to be completely unreliable.
Christchurch Council has already voted to support, in the event of this decision, its MP Sir Christopher Chope in resisting these attempts to thwart the democratic wishes of Christchurch residents and we call on all Christchurch Councillors to respect the residents’ wishes. Similarly, there are of course legal remedies which are open to anyone with an interest in the area to challenge the process by which this decision was reached and we understand that preparations for such a challenge are well under way.
Yesterday it was indeed a “historic day”: a day when nine Christchurch Councillors welcomed the end of over 700 years of Christchurch’s existence as a borough.