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Former Beales boss backing 'supercouncil' plan
A FORMER boss of Beales department stores is backing a campaign for Bournemouth and Poole to have a single council.
Nigel Beale’s family have been active in Bournemouth since Victorian times and started the two towns’ famous department stores.
Mr Beale has signed up to Uniting the Conurbation (UTC) – a campaign to merge Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole under one local authority.
The campaign says a merged council could save the public millions of pounds and do a better job of promoting the towns.
Mr Beale’s great-grandfather was a retailer in the town from 1881 and Beales expanded into Poole in 1967. Mr Beale said he had been lobbying for a merger of the two councils at every opportunity since then.
“Given their ‘cheek by jowl’ geography I saw no merit – nor still do – in two education departments, two social services departments, two marketing and tourism departments, and so on,” he said.
“With a marriage of the three boroughs – with East Dorset included for good measure, together with Upton – the population of the new ‘city’ would be such that it would attract not only considerable savings in administration but the highest calibre of officers. “We could at last punch our weight with such peers as Bristol, Leicester and – given that the population would be slightly larger – even Liverpool.”
He suggested the merged authority could be called City of Poole Bay.
Bournemouth council leader Cllr John Beesley said the council had been working on “joint working initiatives” since 2007 and supported the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. But he said a merger would be “very expensive”.
“It isn’t just a question of making a few people redundant. You have to have common practices, common systems, common policies, which we probably haven’t got in some of those areas.
“The planning of that would take a very great deal of time and cost a massive amount of money.
“Neither of the councils will be able to afford to pay for it and you can be certain the government wouldn’t contribute.”
“If I believed that such a merger was in the best interests of Bournemouth’s council tax payers I’d probably support it. I believe it would be extremely costly for them.”
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