Snap election prompts Dorset council to postpone merger referendum

A REFERENDUM on local government reorganisation in Dorset has been postponed following the announcement of the General Election on 8 June.

But Christchurch & East Dorset Council said its members felt it was best to wait until after the election as there could potentially be changes to the cabinet or policies towards local government.

Six of Dorset’s nine councils – Dorset County Council, Bournemouth, North Dorset, Poole, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland – have already backed proposals to create two unitary authorities to take on the responsibilities of the county council. The Future Dorset plan was submitted to local government secretary Sajid Javid.

Under the original plan, the new councils would go live in April 2019, with full elections the following month.

David McIntosh, chief executive of Christchurch & East Dorset Councils, said: “Members are keen to understand the views of Christchurch residents prior to submitting their representation to the secretary of state regarding local government reorganisation in Dorset.

“However, in light of the announcement to call a General Election, members feel it best to defer the referendum until we have a better understanding of how Government will look following the results of the election on 8 June.”