COUNCILLORS in East Dorset will re-consider their position on local government reorganisation (LGR) at a special meeting on Friday.

The district was one of three, alongside Christchurch and Purbeck, which in January rejected the Future Dorset plan to dissolve the county's existing nine authorities in favour of two new unitaries.

However, a month after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced he was ‘minded to’ implement the Future Dorset proposal, cabinet members will now discuss how they should respond to his final decision in January “in order to have the greatest impact on the new arrangements, and how these can put in place to the benefit of our residents”.

A cabinet report states that it would be “very unlikely to make as powerful a case” to improve local government services “as the submission he already has in front of him”.

It adds: “This council has a long and successful track record of innovating to bring about change that drives down costs and protects essential services for local residents. Looking at the current circumstances at a strategic level, the council’s ability to continue to do so independently is extremely limited.”

The report goes on to explain that the services of Dorset County Council are “under extreme pressure”, with service reductions and closures, and that since the work to explore LGR began, “the picture has only worsened”.

“While this is all unpalatable, it is the situation we find ourselves in,” the report adds.

Recently, council leader Spencer Flower and Purbeck District Council leader Gary Suttle wrote to the chairman of the Dorset Area Joint Committee, Cllr Rebecca Knox, seeking reassurance on several concerns relating to the planned merger. These include council tax harmonisation, the relationship with town and parish councils, safeguarding the Green Belt, and protecting local decision making.

Cllr Know replied to the letter, stating she was “hopeful” that at the next Joint Committee meeting on December 13, “we can accelerate our response to a wider range of issues”.

She added that authorities which had agreed to the Future Dorset proposal also shared the council leaders’ issues.

The extraordinary cabinet meeting will be held at the Allendale Community Centre in Wimborne at 11am.