Following a Dorset-wide consultation, a proposal, called Future Dorset, for the re-organisation of local government in Dorset has recently (March 2017) been submitted to the Government. It is proposed that the current nine Dorset councils be reduced to two - one for urban Dorset and one for rural Dorset.
The proposed urban unitary authority would consist of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Christchurch is currently part of the county of Dorset:
The proposed rural Dorset unitary authority would then consist of the remainder of the county of Dorset:
For full details of the proposal see the Future Dorset web-site:
The Future Dorset proposal was prepared and submitted jointly by: Bournemouth BC, Dorset CC, North Dorset DC, Poole BC, West Dorset DC and Weymouth & Portland BC. Of these - North Dorset DC, West Dorset DC and Weymouth & Portland BC have joined together into a council partnership.
However, the Future Dorset proposal is not supported by Christchurch BC and Purbeck DC.
- Christchurch BC decided on 21/2/17 to submit to the Secretary of State their objections to Future Dorset. This seemed to revolve around their concern about the possibility of council tax increases and loss of control of planning policy.
- East Dorset DC originally decided not to support the proposal in December 2015 but then subsequently rescinded this decision in April 2016.
A further confusion is that Christchurch DC and East Dorset DC have joined together into another council partnership, the 'Christchurch and East Dorset Councils Partnership'.
A decision by the Secretary of State on all this confusion is expected later in the year.