IT’S hard to escape the irony in the leading article in the Echo that Jane Portman has been made redundant. She was the architect responsible for the reorganisation of local government into one unified authority, to include Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. Her redundancy package to include pension contributions will be in the order of £472,000. In 2017, another senior executive was awarded a redundancy package of close to £400,000.

Is it any wonder that the people of Christchurch feel aggrieved, having been forced by the then-communities secretary Sajid Javid, who railroaded this proposal through against the public referendum held in Christchurch, the result of which was overwhelmingly to reject the proposed merger. The result was a massive 84 per cent of the substantial returning vote, firmly against the proposal. So much for local political democracy!

There is a genuine fear that the people of Christchurch will now be at a total disadvantage with proportionately so few elected councillors representing the borough within the new authority that they will be unable to prevent the current "madness" we see almost daily coming out of Bournemouth council, which incidentally is already heavily in debt. These include massive staff payouts, the "investments" in retail parks using high-rate borrowed money, an increased council tax for Christchurch residents, and what will be seen after April, the use of all Christchurch assets including green belt land for Bournemouth development.

The one shining light within this catastrophe is the courage of the Christchurch Independents and a group of renegade Conservative councillors who will vote against the Conservative whip on the new authority. Well done them!

Remember this when you vote in the local elections later this year.

TOM LANE, Quay Road, Christchurch