THE arguments are being lined up on either side of the referendum debate in Christchurch.

Councillors met on Tuesday night to thrash out the final details of the postal poll next months, amid reports of disagreements behind the scenes on wording on a ballot paper and on the supporting document.

The referendum follows a vote by councillors last month because claimed last year's countywide consultation was flawed in favour of the creation of two unitary authorities in Dorset - including the merger of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

In a paper prepared by the council before Tuesday's meeting, the main reasons outlined for saying YES to the Future Dorset proposal are:

Having two councils instead of nine could save between £28m and £66m a year across Dorset

A single council could be more efficient and better able to maintain services

A larger council could more powerfully represent local people and draw extra funding

All services would be delivered by one council making it more accountable to residents

One conurbation council could better plan services like roads, traffic and the local economy

A larger council could be more resilient in dealing with challenges facing local government.

The key arguments for those in the NO camp are:

Christchurch Council disputes the savings forecast and is preparing its own representation to the government

The council says it is efficient and has made savings while maintaining sovereignty

In a new council, there would be fewer Christchurch councillors than from Poole and Bournemouth

Christchurch says it has local control over local services for local people

With enhanced partnership working, Christchurch would retain control of its land, buildings, reserves, planning and housing

Remaining sovereign would help retain Christchurch's sense of place, heritage, history and community.

Ballot papers will be sent out on May 4 and the result announced on May 18.