Terry Louch, 81, a retired postman from Mudeford, said: "I do not quite know the politics of this all really, but people get annoyed when you say Christchurch is Bournemouth. I think most people in Christchurch do not want it."

Jan Louch, 72. a retired charity worker also from Mudeford, said: "My main concern is if we merge, will we become a back water, while Bournemouth and Poole have priority. Christchurch is old and historic, where as Bournemouth is a relatively new town."

Ann Green, 73, a retired nurse from Burton, said: "I'm strongly against it. Merging will see one large block from the other side of Poole across to Highcliffe. There's been mergers in Devon and historic places like Christchurch have really lost out."

Jan Steer, 71, a retired health care assistant at Boots from Highcliffe, said: "I think it might be a good thing because Christchurch council seems to be a waste of time when it comes to helping people. I do feel merging has its benefits for the area."

Terry Green, 73, a retired security worker and lifeguard, said: "I think the locals are against the proposals because there is more money in Christchurch at the moment than what the other councils have and by merging they could lose out."

Anne McGregor, 65, a retired learning support assistant at Branksome Middle School from St Catherine's Hill, said: "I would prefer to keep separate as we will be clubbed together and not get a say in how things are done. Mainly I fear all the history and heritage in the town will be lost by merging. All my ancestors come rom Christchurch."

Robert McGregor, 66, a retired insurance manager also from St Catherine's Hill, said: "People do things for their own ends in my opinion. I'm not against merging as long as the staff employed to make decisions want to do good for the people of the town."

Ruth Coffin, 50, a supermarket sales assistant from Burton, said: "I do not understand why we shouldn't stay on our own. Poole and Bournemouth want Christchurch to take the available land and build up more flats."

Maureen Barrett, 75, a retired office worker from Burton, said: "Why is David Trenchard getting involved with Christchurch. We're an ancient borough and I think Chris Chope is right on this issue."