The new future of local government in Dorset is moving closer to reality. A Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee has been set up with Councillors representing each authority. Several meetings have already taken place, and important decisions are being reached on an almost daily basis. These Joint Committees allow the Councils to prepare and prioritise decisions for the area, now that the Secretary of State has said he is minded to back two new Unitary Authorities.
Replacing Dorset’s nine councils with two new ones – structured around the established urban and rural geography of the county – will bring a strong and prosperous future to Dorset, with two councils better able to work together in the best interests of Dorset’s residents and the long-term success of the whole area.
This proposal is ambitious, aspirational, and achievable. For the urban unitary area (comprising Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole), it will result in savings that mean the new council can begin to ensure that vital frontline services valued by the public, including adult social care, are sustainable into the future.
The Joint Committees continue to work together until the final decision in January 2018. Notable decisions taken by the Committee include a commitment that no resident will be worse off in the amount of the Council Tax that they will pay under the new council than if no change had occurred. Indeed, some residents, such as those in Christchurch, will likely see a reduction in Council Tax.
We are fortunate in Bournemouth West Conservative Association in that our Deputy Chairman, Cllr Philip Broadhead, is also the Cabinet Member responsible for Local Government Reorganisation for Bournemouth. If any member has any questions about the current progress or what it will mean for you or your business, you can contact Philip at Philip.Broadhead@Bournemouth.gov.uk.