THE costs which Christchurch council must pay for its judicial review bid have climbed to £100,000.

The council anticipates its own costs will hit £50,000, and the judge ordered it to meet the costs of the other side – the Communities Secretary – at £35k, and of the interested parties – the other eight Dorset councils – at £15k.

Council leader Cllr David Flagg said: “The council set aside £200,000 for the costs associated with the judicial review so the total costs cover the amount we have set aside.”

The borough has been accused of wasting council tax payers money on its bid for a judicial review of local government reorganisation (LGR)

Yesterday it was refused permission to appeal the dismissal.

High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who presided over the judicial review hearing in London last week, said a further hearing at the Court of Appeal had “no prospect of success”.

The borough may still decide to take its bid for an appeal to the court directly, although it must do so by August 21.

Cllr Flagg said: “Whilst we are disappointed with the decision of the judge to refuse leave to appeal the council has fought to represent the wishes of our residents throughout this process.

"The result of our local poll showed that 84 per cent of residents who took part did not support local government reorganisation and it was important we pursued every avenue possible to prevent the abolition of the council.

“We will now consider the advice of counsel and officers before making a decision about the best way forward.”

In a brief statement, the other eight councils, which are backing the merger, said: "We very much hope that Christchurch Borough Council will accept the decision today and now focus their efforts on working with Dorset’s eight other councils to create the new unitary authorities as we plan for the smooth transfer of services next year."

On Twitter, those backing LGR were pleased with the decision.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said: “Now that Christchurch council have been denied permission to appeal I urge our friends in Christchurch to get fully involved in shaping the agenda of the new council and work with all other Dorset MPs in exploiting to the full the opportunities it presents us.”

And North Dorset MP Simon Hoare said: “Amen to that! All due process has been followed. We need to move on and deliver the services our constituents need and want.”

It was Sir Ross who turned down the council’s bid for a judicial review, arguing that it “did not act promptly” to issue its legal challenge, and that there was “no compelling reason” to support its case that the Secretary of State acted illegally, on a technicality, by approving the merger.