The local authorities of Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset and Poole have recently announced that they are jointly exploring the possibility of forming a new single Council to cover their respective geographic areas. This would see all functions undertaken by the existing councils in these areas, including services currently run by Dorset County Council in Christchurch & East Dorset, being delivered by a new single unitary authority.
The Councils have indicated that an initial decision on whether to proceed with the proposed merger will be made ‘in principle’ by spring 2016 and, if agreed, that the new Council would be formed in April 2019.
On a planning front, Borough of Poole has recently embarked upon a review of its Core Strategy, with Christchurch and East Dorset also in the process of preparing a Local Plan Part 2 document. As a consequence of the above announcement it is possible that these plans could be absorbed into a single joint plan for South East Dorset. The foundations for a joint plan are already sown in the preparation of an informal strategic framework covering the Dorset authorities which, under existing arrangements, will oversee work on the creation of a common evidence base to inform the preparation of individual plan reviews by each of the local authorities.
If you require any advice or further information on how these proposals could affect your project(s) then please contact us now.