Dorset

Christchurch council applies to appeal over Dorset merger plan

Dorset coastline
Image caption Dorset's nine councils will become two unitary authorities in April 2019

A local council has applied for permission to appeal after failing in its High Court bid to halt authorities in Dorset being merged.

Christchurch Borough Council formally opposed plans to replace the county's nine councils with two authorities.

It believed it had "an arguable case against the Secretary of State", but its challenge was rejected at the High Court on Tuesday.

It has now made an application for leave to appeal against the judgement.

The authority, which said it was "disappointed" with the judgement, will now await a response and has until 21 August to lodge an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

It has already been ordered to pay costs totalling £50,000.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Christchurch Borough Council has been ordered to pay costs totalling £50,000

Under the merger plans, all nine councils would cease to exist and Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch would merge.

A second council would be formed from Dorset County Council, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth & Portland and West Dorset.

Christchurch Borough Council told the government it had acted "beyond its powers" in laying the changes before Parliament in March.

In a letter to the council, the government previously described the authority's bid as "absurd".

Supporters of the changes to local government in Dorset, due to come into effect in April 2019, said they could save £108m over six years.

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC in June revealed Christchurch had already paid £15,845 to its legal advisors and had set aside £200,000 to cover further legal fees.

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