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Dorset council postpones reorganisation referendum until after general election

Christchurch councillors in Dorset have voted to defer a referendum on local government reorganisation until after the snap general election on 8 June.

The news was announced this week by the council who say that due to possible changes to cabinet members and government policies on local government that could come about as a result of the general election, members felt the best option moving forward was to delay the referendum until after June.

Reorganisation would mean that the nine councils in Dorset would be reorganised into two unitary authorities, and it is a change that three councils, including Christchurch, have long been opposed to, as the local MP labelled the consultation into reform as “inadequate and untruthful” at the end of last year.

The comments were made with regards to a public consultation of 17,000 residents across the nine councils that found nearly three-quarters of respondents supported change in Dorset.

Christchurch’s opposition to reorganisation led the council to seek a referendum to get the opinions of its residents before moving forward with submitting a plan to the communities secretary.

A ‘minded to’ decision on the reorganisation bid, called Future Dorset, has not yet been made by the six councils in support of change.

David McIntosh, chief executive of Christchurch and East Dorset Councils, said: “Members are keen to understand the views of Christchurch residents prior to submitting their representation to the secretary of state regarding local government reorganisation in Dorset.

“However, in light of the announcement to call a general election, members feel it best to defer the referendum until we have a better understanding of how government will look following the results of the election on 8 June.”

More recently, Bournemouth has begun the process of shaking up its leadership in preparation for the change, as it voted to make its CEO redundant at the start of April, and also announced that it would pay £400,000 to the outgoing executive.

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Mags 4 Dorset   08/05/2017 at 16:21

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