The Conservative majority administration on BCP Council (bolstered by four defectors all elected under other colours) has voted for Bournemouth to apply for City Status.

The residents of Christchurch should be very worried indeed by this.

It brings forward even more, the spectre of Christchurch becoming an outpost of Greater Bournemouth, something that all opponents of merger warned about from the beginning.

All seven Christchurch Independents either voted against the city status move or abstained at full council on Tuesday.

In 2018, in the merger referendum in Christchurch, 84 per cent of the 21,000 residents who voted said no, but of course it went ahead.

The Christchurch Independents group was formed in 2018 precisely because the Conservatives could not be trusted to protect Christchurch.

That remains even more true now - the evidence is mounting with every passing month. Secret talks on developing Saxon Square, the attempt to sell off the Waitrose car park and the dismissive and contemptuous attitude towards the Borough’s town and parish councils are just three examples.

The true intentions of the Bournemouth and Poole Conservatives are clearer by the day, to ensure that the local government reorganisation in 2019 was a complete takeover not a merger.

We will continue our fight for all residents of the Borough to make sure this does not happen.

Cllr Lesley Dedman

Cllr David Flagg

Cllr Nick Geary

Cllr Paul Hilliard

Cllr Simon McCormack

Cllr Margaret Phipps

Cllr Vanessa Ricketts

Christchurch Independents Group