BREAKING NEWS: The Judicial Review instigated by Christchurch Borough Council, challenging the creation of a new Unitary Authority for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has been dismissed by the High Court today meaning that the Secretary of States’ original ruling made earlier this year will still proceed as planned. Sajid Javid’s decision meant that the separate councils of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole would be dissolved and a new Unitary Authority created for all three towns.
At the same time the remainder of councils in Dorset, including Dorset County Council will also be dissolved and a new second authority created which will govern the rest of Dorset.
Plans are well underway with shadow authorities already in place ready for the March 2019 deadline when the new Local Authorities will become fully active.
Although there is some disappointment to today’s news, particularly in Christchurch where the council’s leader, Cllr. David Flagg is considering an appeal to this ruling saying “We are disappointed by today’s judgement [and] have been advised that a number of points set out in the Judgement are still arguable in law and therefore we will be responding to the Judge on these.”
Many are also welcoming the decision and are appealing to all sides to come together and work together for the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
The following statement is from Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council, Borough of Poole, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council:
“We are delighted but unsurprised by today’s judgement. A huge amount of work has already been undertaken, and we are making excellent progress towards creating the two new councils. Christchurch Borough councillors and their officers have always been welcome at the various meetings that have taken place, working to form the two new councils.
“We respect the choice of Christchurch Borough Council to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision, through a judicial review on a procedural point of law. In doing so, we note that the validity of the case for creating two new councils was not the basis for this judicial review challenge.
“Christchurch Borough Council has spent a very significant amount of council tax payers’ money in pursuing this legal action. The High Court has rejected that challenge and we hope that all Christchurch Borough Councillors will now accept that judgement, and fully take part in planning for and making decisions about the new council.
“We are optimistic this matter is now behind us, and we can look forward to working together to create the best new local councils we can, to protect public services as much as possible, and to secure future growth and prosperity for our areas.”