Dorset Local Government reorganisation goes ahead despite 3 councils dropping out

Interesting that the Secretary of State for Local Government can force the three recalcitrant councils to join the others …

Six councils are to press ahead with asking communities secretary Sajid Javid to reorganise local government in Dorset, despite the remaining three opposing the idea.

A plan to create two unitary councils in the area at present covered by Dorset County Council and unitaries Bournemouth and Poole borough councils has now been voted on by all involved.

Christchurch, East Dorset and Purbeck have opposed the idea, though it was supported by the two unitaries, the county council and districts North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.

The six are now expected to ask Mr Javid to reorganise the area into two unitaries. One would cover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and the other East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland.
Matt Prosser, chair of the Dorset Chief Executives Group, said: “We now have a mandate from our councils [for reorganisation] and we have the backing of the public and other stakeholders. That is clear from the consultation results.

“Now, we have a duty to respond to that mandate and secure a sustainable and even brighter future for Dorset.”

The dissident trio face the problem that Mr Javid has powers to enforce the reorganisation even against their objections.

Christchurch leader Ray Nottage said: “Changes to the structure of local government in Dorset present an historic opportunity to transform our services at a time when budgets are being cut and our priority must be protecting frontline services.

“The secretary of state submission made by those councils that have agreed the recommendation might see the final decision regarding local government reorganisation taken out of our hands.”

Spencer Flower, leader of East Dorset, said: “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.”
Purbeck rejected reorganisation only on the chair’s casting vote, with councillors tied 11-11 on the proposal.”