A LEAFLET urging Christchurch residents to reject super council plans has been withdrawn after a copyright dispute.

The leaflet, titled ‘Retain Your Independence’ and published by businessman Alistair Somerville-Ford, carries the logos for both Christchurch and Bournemouth councils on its front page, but is endorsed by neither authority.

Urging residents to vote ‘no’ to merging Christchurch with Bournemouth and Poole in a deferred local referendum, the leaflet claims local government reorganisation (LGR) plans will cost families “a lot of money”.

It claims LGR will see the town lose “its thousand years of sovereignty and its mayoralty, its Royal Charter, its assets”.

After receiving a legal letter from Bournemouth council, Dr Somerville-Ford said he had stopped production, although many of the 25,000 leaflets have already been distributed.

The consultant, who lives in Ringwood, said the complaints were “a load of rubbish”.

“It was in the public interest to publish these leaflets, about these two councils merging, you would have to be stupid to think it was issued by the councils, let’s get real,” he said.

“I have told them I won’t be using their logos again, I have got something much better for the next leaflet.”

He plans to issue two more leaflets on the issue, using a local delivery firm for the distribution.

“The responses we have had have been absolutely incredible. People have said that for the first time someone has explained what is behind the amalgamation and what the downside is.”

David McIntosh, chief executive of Christchurch and East Dorset councils, said: “Councillors made the decision to defer the referendum in April and this leaflet is in no way connected to Christchurch Borough Council.”

Bournemouth’s head of paid service Jane Portman said the flyer contained “numerous falsehoods”.

“The council has written to the publisher requesting all copies are withdrawn due to this copyright infringement,” she said.

“Additionally, we are taking legal advice in relation to the false, inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims within the leaflet.”