Dorset

Dorset council unitary authority proposals move closer

A bid to merge all council services in Dorset under the control of two new authorities has moved a step closer.

Leaders of six of the county's existing nine councils have written to the government to support the creation of new unitary authorities for the east and west of Dorset.

The plan was rejected by Christchurch, Purbeck and East Dorset councils.

The new structure would be expected to save about £108m over six years.

Dorset County Council leader Robert Gould said: "Whatever happens we will continue to work with our other partner councils and I hope that we will establish some consensus on how we progress."

An eight-week public consultation on the proposal was held last year after it was revealed the existing authorities had to make £200m of savings by 2019.

It would see one unitary authority covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and a second authority for East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland.

If approved, the changes would result in the loss of an estimated 450 existing council jobs and a reduction in the number of councillors in Dorset from 331 to about 180.

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