Dorset

Purbeck councillors drop objection to merger plans

Dorset coastline
Image caption Dorset's nine councils are due to become two unitary authorities in April 2019

Purbeck has become the latest Dorset council to abandon a decision to oppose merger plans.

The authority had been one of three against changing the county's nine councils into two unitary councils.

Last night 19 of its 25 members gave support for joining a rural unitary authority.

Only Christchurch remains officially against the merger after East Dorset District Council also made a U-turn on its decision.

People living there have until 14 December to vote in a non-binding referendum that will guide the authority's response.

The merger, aimed at saving £200m by 2019, would mean all Dorset councils would cease to exist.

Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch would merge to form one council.

A second authority would be formed from East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth and Portland and West Dorset.

The councils have until 8 January to give their decisions to the government before Parliament has the final say.

If the Secretary of State decides to support the reorganisation, the new unitary councils will be formed on 1 April 2019.

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