Christchurch council could opt not to join Government plans for two new unitary authorities in Dorset.
The ‘Future Dorset’ plan, which is supported by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, would see Dorset’s nine councils replaced by the new unitary authorities.
However, Christchurch council have expressed doubts about the idea and could instead rejoin Hampshire after leaving the county along with Bournemouth in 1974.
Councillor David Jones said: “The council’s policy is very clear, we do not wish to go into greater Bournemouth.
“How would a councillor from the other side of Poole know the problems that one of my residents in Somerford or the far end of West Highcliffe has?”
The Future Dorset plan was first rejected by Christchurch Council back in January and they have been looking for an alternative to propose to the Government ever since.
The issue is now likely to be put to local residents in a referendum, where they will be able to vote on whether they wish to join the new Future Dorset plan.
Councillor Jones added: “With the plans, we would find ourselves paying a higher tax than necessary but we would also be subsidising Bournemouth and Poole for twenty years.
“Why should the taxpayers of Somerford, which is one of the most deprived areas of Dorset, subsidise Branksome park and Canford Cliffs?”
A final decision on the Future Dorset plan won’t be made until the 8th January 2018 but local Christchurch residents will have the opportunity on Monday, at a public meeting, to make their views heard on the issue.
It is argued that two new unitary councils would allow greater spending on frontline services like parks, road repairs, libraries, children’s services, and adult social care, with the likes of AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and Team GB Gold Medallist Hannah Mills also supporting the proposals.
Future Dorset also say the plans would create a “world class county even better for lifestyle, business and leisure.”
However, Christchurch councillor David Jones believes the proposals wouldn’t benefit the town of Christchurch.
“The best option would be that there would be no change at all.
“If we are forced into Future Dorset, we will lose control of everything. At the moment we control planning, the environment, our housing and our council tax, all of that would be taken under the Greater Bournemouth umbrella.”
Local residents will likely get a say on the matter in a referendum in December, which will ultimately decide the future of Christchurch council.
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