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New Weymouth Town Council could be established by April 2019

Weymouth could see the establishment of a new town council by April 2019.

Members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee has recommended that the council approves the potential change.

The recommendation comes following two rounds of consultation, which showed high support for maintaining a local government in the town if a new unitary authority is set up in the area through the Future Dorset proposals.

If the borough councils cease to exist in 2019 in favour of a unitary council, Weymouth would be the only area without a parish or town council.

In November last year, communities secretary Sajid Javid said that he was minded to agree to the plans which would see the creation of two unitary authorities in Dorset, in place of the current two tier system.

However, the move is controversial, with Christchurch Borough Council threatening legal action last month.

Of the 1,000 responses to the first consultation, 77% of people wanted a single town council for Weymouth.

The second consultation received 532 responses, with 68% in favour of the proposal for the new town council set up.

The proposed name of the new local authority will be Weymouth Town Council, with the first election proposed to be in 2019 and then every fourth year thereafter.

It will be divided into 12 wards for the purpose of electing the 29 councillors, and the ward boundaries will match the current borough wards for the Weymouth area.

Cllr Alison Reed, brief holder for corporate affairs and continuous improvement, said: “We are edging towards a major milestone in the history and future of Weymouth.

“When a new unitary authority is created in place of the borough council we owe it to the community to make sure Weymouth maintains a strong voice.”

She explained: “The strong consensus about the need to have a powerful local voice in the first days of the unitary council outweighs the delay it would take to conduct a Boundary Review.

“We have to take into account that any changes to the wards and numbers of councillors would require this.

“If the borough council agrees to a town council it will recommend that the town council requests a boundary review after it is set up.”

The full council will make a decision regarding the new council when it meets on 22 February 2018.

Top image: BerndBrueggemann


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