The Uniting the Conurbation group (‘UTC’) is pleased to learn that Christopher Chope MP and those Christchurch councillors who challenged the legality of the way in which the Minister and Parliament decided to create a single unitary authority for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have now abandoned their legal action. We believe that their legal challenge was not helpful and that it by-passed key issues which local government in Dorset must address.
The action was against the interests of Christchurch because, when the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council comes into being next year, Christchurch people will have a more powerful voice when dealing with basic services and important matters than under the present arrangements.
There is much that is special about each of our three towns and, with its greater say and added powers, a pro-active new council will be better able to protect and enhance those entities while continuing to celebrate their individual history and traditions.
Much work lies ahead. We hope that all councillors will now knuckle down and work together through the shadow authority and we trust that members elected to the new authority next year will not only look to the sustainability of services now under threat but also to the bigger picture. This will become the sixteenth largest conurbation in the UK – let our vision and resources reflect that!
Chair of the UTC group Alderman Douglas Eyre said “Thank goodness all local councillors can now come together for the better good of the whole conurbation. Only recently senior Christchurch councillors were complaining about a long-standing lack of appreciation, by their present colleagues on Dorset County Council, of the urgent need to tackle traffic gridlock which has become such a regular problem in Christchurch. Our new council will have a far better grasp of such matters; it is just one area where opportunities will arise to develop fresh strategies to tackle the urgent needs of our conurbation.”