Latest, from July 2017

4 October 2017

Another Echo article about the proposed merger

30 September 2017

Echo article about possible progress with the re-organisation of the Councils

10 August 2017

As there has been nothing in the Echo yet* (now added, 11 August), this is my brief summary from the report in today’s Christchurch Times:

At the extraordinary meeting which took place on 8 August, the Councillors voted unanimously to join the other two Councils – Bournemouth and Poole – for talks about local government in Dorset.

Matters under discussion will include:

  • Disaggregation of services
  • Harmonisation of Council Tax and budgets for any new authority which might be created

If the plans are accepted, East Dorset, North Dorset, West Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth and Portland would also merge into one authority.

It was a condition of joining the Committee that meetings will only be quorate when 50% of members and one representative of each authority is present. Christchurch also reserved the right to explore other options while sitting on the Committee.

I quote two Councillors.

First, Cllr Margaret Phipps:
I am very pleased that we are making it clear that we do not support joining these authorities, but we are prepared to sit at the table and co-operate and have discussions on joint working.

Finally, Cllr Colin Bungey:
I support this because we have to be around the table and we have to discuss what’s going to happen if the worst happens. We must continue exploring our options. We have got one of the wealthiest boroughs in the country, we have no debt, we need to try and retain that for the benefit of our residents, for the future.

Comments welcome below.

4 August 2017

Will Christchurch join the Bournemouth and Poole discussions on council reform?
A meeting taking place next week, comments allowed below. Read the Echo article
Report above.

20 July 2017

This morning the headline on the Christchurch Times proclaimed:
Town could make a return to Hampshire in shake-up.

Our MP, Chris Chope, has said, “…you might think if Dorset doesn’t want Christchurch as a second-tier authority, then maybe Hampshire would, which is different from a combination with the New Forest. It would mean going back to what it was like before 1974.”

Note that this is obviously an idea of Mr Chope, nothing has yet been formalised!

On the back page nine residents were asked if they thought it was a good idea to return to Hampshire. Though this would obviously not be a fully representative sample, six thought it would be a good idea, two would prefer to stay in Dorset, and one said it would be fine if it led to financial savings. There is more detail in this Echo article.

Readers were able to vote in an informal poll on this site, which closed on 15 August. The results were:

  • Move to Hampshire: 7 votes
  • Stay in Dorset: 4 votes
  • Don’t mind: 1 vote


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