Dorset

Dorset residents call meeting to discuss changing council structure

Corn Exchange, Dorchester Image copyright Chris Talbot
Image caption The meeting is to take place at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester

A public meeting is being held by campaigners to gauge support for a change in council structure in Dorset.

The event is to be chaired by civil rights attorney Clive Stafford Smith, who is based in the county.

John Grantham arranged the Public First meeting after he became frustrated crucial issues were not being discussed enough at West Dorset District Council.

He said it would save money if Dorset was to become one unitary authority, which runs all local services.

'Axiomatic and essential'

This would be in place of a two-tier structure where services are divided between district and county councils.

Mr Grantham said the unitary authority structure had worked well in Wiltshire since 2009.

Mr Grantham hopes councillors from the Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP will attend.

He said a number of Conservative members had been invited but it is so far unclear if any plan to attend.

The campaigner said: "It may be a bit unpredictable, maybe a bit untidy at times in view of the likely variety of views expressed, but the common bond between hopefully all attending will be an utter conviction that democratic expression and discussion is axiomatic and essential in this area of the country on the crucial topics being examined."

He said the idea had been growing for a long time after trying to appeal to the district council over various planning issues and said many people found the way the district council works "stultifying".

The meeting is on Wednesday 7 January at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester.

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