THREE new parish authorities could be set up across Christchurch ahead of the borough's merger with Bournemouth and Poole.

Following an initial public consultation, recommendations have been compiled by a task and finish group which will be discussed at a meeting of Christchurch Borough Council's community committee.

The report to members suggests setting up formal parishes for Highcliffe and Walkford, Mudeford and Stanpit, and Christchurch Town.

At present the borough has two parish councils in Hurn and Burton.

Proposals suggest the Highcliffe and Walkford authority would have 11 councillors, Mudeford and Stanpit would have eight and Christchurch Town would have 15.

The Christchurch Town body, which would be a parish council, could include St Catherine's and Grange.

Highcliffe Residents' Association has submitted a representation requesting a community council, however the report suggests a neighbourhood should be formed.

The parish of Mudeford and Stanpit is recommended to be a community council.

In recommending the creation of three new councils, the report to Wednesday's community committee says: "The task and finish group concluded that there was sufficient separate community identity, cohesion and interest in the Highcliffe, Walkford, Mudeford, Friars Cliff and Stanpit areas, in addition to the town, to justify a multi-parish arrangement."

Some responses to the community governance review called for a single town council to be set up across the whole of the existing borough, however the task and finish group found this was not possible.

The report adds: "The respondents who proposed forming a Town Council suggested using the current borough wards as a basis for the new parish wards.

"This was investigated but due to exclusion of the parishes of Hurn and Burton and having regard to other electoral arrangements, this was not possible without resulting in an unacceptable electoral equality balance."

Christchurch Citizens Association (CCA) submitted a response to the initial consultation supporting a town council excluding Highcliffe,Grange and St Catherine’s areas.

Sue Bungey, chair of CCA, said: "Members are all in favour of this but is is how it is worked out that is important.

"The opinion of members was we need to have parishes in place before we have to merge with Bournemouth and Poole."

Following the community committee meeting another consultation phase will take place, with a deadline for responses set as midnight on July 20.