East Boscombe resident Jude Allen, 63, said Christchurch should continue to fight on. He added: “I think it is better to have localised councils rather than a central approach.”

Debbie Henderson, 61, a cartographer from Christchurch said: “I think the amount of money spent asking people for their view and the amount that said no should carry weight.”

David Whitehorn, a retried engineer from Christchurch who is in favour of the merger, said: “Personally I don’t think it will be a bad thing. It’s the bigger the better now and it’s inevitable.”

Jeff Barradell, 70, a retired businessman from Mudeford, said: “If there were any chance I would like to see the councillors fight on. If it comes down to democracy Christchurch said no.”

Hazel Miles, a retired secretary from Barton, said: “I think it will cost them too much to keep fighting it, but it is sad because the decision goes against what the residents want.”

Retired aerospace engineer Brian Sherry, from Burton, said: “I have always been against it and i want them to take it to the bitter end. It could be the best thing to join, but I have my doubts.”

Alan Pocock, a semi-retired IP network consultant from Bournemouth, said: “If Christchurch residents have got that much of a feeling then democracy should rule.”

Christchurch resident Martin Jacques, 50, a mature student, said: “If they think they can get a result then they should fight on, but if it’s dead in the water that’s it.”

Peter Cash, a retired pre-press newspaper supervisor from Bournemouth, said: “I would be quite happy to see Christchurch retain its own identity. They should keep fighting.”