A decision to abolish all nine Dorset councils and replace them with just two could made as early as next month.

The leaders of six authorities yesterday formally asked the government to disband the current structure, just 18 months after the idea was first floated.

The two new unitary councils, one in the conurbation and the other in rural Dorset would deliver all services in their areas including social care, rubbish collection, libraries, highways and parking.

Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Council who has spearheaded the 'super council' project described it as "ambitious and achievable."

He added: "It makes the savings needed to turn the tide on a decline in services across the county, and means money will continue to be available in the future to empty the bins, fix the roads, protect parks and open spaces and run libraries – things that would be under very real threat if there is no change, as increasing proportions of councils’ spending is needed to fund adult social care and children’s services.”

The six signed up for the change are Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset, North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland.

The other three, Christchurch, East Dorset and Purbeck have voted to opt out - but unless they can persuade the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, they have a viable alternative, the decision could be taken out of their hands.

Cllr Robert Gould, leader of Dorset County Council, said: "It’s a chance in a lifetime to make Dorset a more successful, healthy, vibrant and prosperous county.”

Earlier this week the Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Trish Jamieson, wrote to Mr Javid pointing out that Christchurch did not support the shake-up.

She said councillors believed the government would not force merger on councils that did not want it.

The Echo understands that member from the three rebel councils have already met to discuss linking up.

But even if that were to be considered, it would leave the rural unitary, based mainly on Dorset County Council, as economically unviable.