Legislation now passed in both Houses of Parliament means that Dorset residents will be served by two brand new unitary councils from April 2019 – Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council, and Dorset Council. The county’s nine current councils will cease to exist on 31st March 2019.
The Leaders of the eight councils who have consented to local government reform have wholeheartedly welcomed the news.
Cllr John Beesley for Bournemouth, Cllr Rebecca Knox for Dorset, Cllr Janet Walton for Poole, Cllr Spencer Flower for East Dorset, Cllr Gary Suttle for Purbeck, Cllr Graham Carr-Jones for North Dorset, Cllr Anthony Alford for West Dorset and Cllr Jeff Cant for Weymouth & Portland said:
“This is an historic day for local government in our county, and we are exceptionally proud to have reached this significant milestone.
“We would like to thank to all councillors, officers, business organisations, MPs, town & parish councils, public sector partners, the voluntary sector and of course the residents of Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth, for clearly recognising the benefits that this change will bring, and for supporting us through what has been a long and complex process.
“People recognised that Dorset is made up of a distinct and established conurbation and a defined county area, each with its own differing needs and priorities. They, like us, saw the logic of streamlined local government, of having councils with less overheads that are better able to protect local services in the future and that can spend a greater proportion of available funds on frontline provision like road repairs, children’s services, adult social care, waste & recycling, parks, and libraries.
“Both new councils will serve around 400,000 residents, putting them within the twenty largest local authorities in the country. It is the immense opportunity that this strength of position gives us at a national level that is the most exciting benefit of all. These two new councils will have a stronger, co-ordinated voice when bidding for Government funding and investment for things like road improvements, housing, schools and economic regeneration; the things that benefit an area for all those living within it.”