COUNCILLORS will meet next week to consider whether Christchurch should take part in local government reform discussions - but there is no news on the referendum.

The extraordinary meeting of members will discuss whether the council should take up seats on the joint committee to review local government structures.

In March, members agreed to hold a public vote on whether Christchurch Borough Council should join with Bournemouth and Poole authorities - with a date set in May.

This was deferred following the announcement of June's snap General Election.

Since the election there has been no update on when or if the referendum will take place.

The announcement of the council meeting comes after council leader Cllr David Flagg received a letter inviting the authority to join the Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch joint committee.

The joint committee will consider matters such as the disaggregation of services and budgets for any new authority which might be created.

The letter was sent by the leaders of Bournemouth and Poole Borough Councils.

Cllr Flagg said: “We voted in January not to be part of the Future Dorset submission and that decision stands.

“However, I will be recommending to members that we accept the invitation we have received from Bournemouth and Poole and take up our seats on the joint committee.

"The interests of Christchurch residents will be best served if our council shares in the debates and discussions while we await the decision of the Secretary of State."

The Future Dorset plans propose merging Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole councils into one authority.

The smaller councils of East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, and Weymouth and Portland would also merge into a single authority if the plans are put into action.

In January, Christchurch members voted not to support the Future Dorset proposal, and Christchurch Borough Council stresses any decision to take part in the joint committee would not alter this decision.

The council goes on to say if the Secretary of State announces he is 'minded to' support the Future Dorset proposal, it would be up to councillors to then decide the best course of action.