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Christchurch ‘disappointed’ by failed High Court bid against Dorset merger

A council campaigning against a potential merger that would see its authority scrapped has lost its battle in High Court.

Christchurch Borough Council has consistently opposed merger plans to replace Dorset county’s nine councils with two larger authorities.

Under the proposed restructuring, Christchurch would join services with Poole Council and Dorset Council. But Christchurch, led by MP Sir Christopher Chope, challenged the plans formulated by then-communities secretary Sajid Javid, claiming the decision was beyond his powers – an argument which new communities secretary James Brokenshire labelled “absurd” in May.  

The legal wrangle reached all the way to the High Court; yet following the conclusion of the trial last week in front of Judge Sir Ross Cranston, the local council failed in its bid to prevent the merger from going ahead.

Cllr David Flagg, leader of Christchurch Borough Council, said: “We are disappointed by today’s judgement.

“We have been advised that a number of points set out in the judgement are still arguable in law and therefore we will be responding to the judge on these.”

Cllr Flagg noted that depending on the response from the judge, Christchurch will consider whether an appeal to the Court of Appeal would be appropriate.

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Image credit: BrasilNut1

Legislation for the merger was formally passed on 24 May. The second council to be formed will be from Dorset County Council, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset.


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