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Borough council issues pre-action letter in bid to stop Dorset reorganisation

Christchurch Borough Council is making a last ditch legal bid to hold onto its independence.

The council is due next year to be merged into a new unitary along with Bournemouth and Poole, following a decision by then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

A barrister’s opinion initially told Christchurch that it lacked any realistic path to a legal challenge.

But the council last month said it had identified another route involving alleged misuse of secondary legislation by the government to bring about the reorganisation, and a spokeswoman said it had now issued a pre-action protocol letter.

Christchurch’s Tory leader David Flagg said: “We have written to the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government telling him that we believe the legislation drafted to implement local government reorganisation in Dorset is beyond his powers. We have asked him to withdraw the regulations immediately.

“We await a response and depending on the outcome the council will consider its position.”

Cllr Flagg said Christchurch would remain within the joint committee carrying out preparatory work for the new council.

The reorganisation would also create a second unitary covering the reminder of the present Dorset.

Mark Smulian

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