A GOVERNMENT minister has told Christchurch council that its alternative proposal to the Future Dorset merger does not have “any realistic likelihood of being implemented.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has written to leader David Flagg ahead of an expected decision on the long-awaited shake up.

But he does reiterate that the government’s criteria is that any merger proposal is ‘proposed by all councils which are to be merged’.

Christchurch’s position following December’s referendum is that Bournemouth and Poole can merge but the rest of Dorset should continue as two tier.

Bournemouth and Poole want a total complete conurbation merger. Mr Javid said he would carefully consider all representations before making a final decision.

His letter was sent to Cllr Flagg on January 16 but it has only just been made public.

The Echo understands chief executive David McIntosh is furious because it refers to Cllr Flagg’s ‘difficulty... obtaining information from your officers.’

In a statement to the Echo, Mr McIntosh said: “The leader wrote to the Secretary of State on 21 December and officers were unaware of this until the Secretary of State response was received.

"Myself and the Strategic Director for Finance both believed the letter to be inaccurate and misleading and asked the leader to write to the Secretary of State again to correct this.

"The Leader refused to do so and has subsequently circulated the Secretary of State response to Christchurch Borough Council’s representation.”

Cllr Flagg said: “Christchurch put forward what we felt was a very strong alternative proposal and it is disappointing that the Secretary of State is not going to allow us additional time to fully work up this proposal. However, I am encouraged that he will give careful consideration to our full representation, which includes the strong result of our poll demonstrating that the vast majority of our residents do not support becoming part of a unitary council with Bournemouth and Poole.”

NOTE: An earlier version of this story has now been updated