Government Dragging Heels On Local Authority Reorganisation

 The Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP

 Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

2 Marsham Street


Dear Mr Javid, 

Dorset Local Government Reform

We write to express our concern at the delay in the announcement of your view of 
the plan to reform Dorset local government by replacing the present eleven local 
government units with two unitary authorities (one for our urban conurbation and 
another for the more rural areas). 

This proposal, which was carefully researched and received overwhelming public 
support, was submitted to your Department in February with a tight programme for 
implementation in order to avoid uncertainty and disruption of the electoral timetable. 

The research identified significant administrative cost savings to be made from 
merging public services in the urban and rural areas. Equally significant however are 
the major long-term social and economic benefits which will flow from a new ability to 
plan and service  our conurbation’s economy as a single entity.  Our urban 
population is close to 400,000, which approaches the size of Bristol, and we urgently 
need to develop a strategic vision of our future development and goals. 

While awaiting the public announcement of your initial response, our existing 
authorities have started to merge some back office functions and have also 
announced a programme of redundancies. This will yield cost savings but as it will
yield few, if any, strategic benefits it cannot be good for morale.

 Our UTC group has been lobbying the local councils to seek support for a unitary
 authority for the S. E. Dorset Conurbation for more than 6 years and the case is 
clearly set out in our manifesto and several discussion papers which can be seen
on our website. Although your fellow MP Christopher Chope has campaigned locally 
to keep Christchurch out of the proposal to unite the conurbation, the people there 
broadly support it and Christchurch, with its industrial estates and major airport, is an
essential part of our urban area.

We are now concerned that the impetus of the councils’ initiative, which has been
truly impressive to date, could be lost if your announcement to enable them to
proceed to the next stage is delayed further. Please therefore expedite giving our 
local authorities the authority and encouragement to allow the mergers to progress.

Yours faithfully


Alderman Douglas Eyre