I WRITE concerning the many online responses to the article published 10 January regarding Cllr Beesley's letter to Sajid Javid about Christchurch's current stance on the proposed merger.

Yet again, those against this seem to be missing the point entirely and using the opportunity to have another pop at Cllr Beesley.

Of course they are as entitled to disagree as I am to agree, but what I find so worrying is that important facts are being overlooked and whether this is through a lack of understanding or is a way to take another side swipe at Bournemouth councillors I know not!

I list below some pertinent facts which I really do feel residents need to consider.

Christchurch is fairly and proportionally represented on the Joint Committee (which is chaired by the leader of Poole council). A committee which, I would remind everyone, they originally didn't even want to be part of.

One of the facts I find most interesting is that Christchurch currently only have control over 13% of their total budget, with the rest being both held and spent on their behalf by Dorset County Council. DCC have a massive deficit on their Adult and Children's Social Care budget which is not helped by the demographic of Christchurch residents. I would suggest therefore that if the merger goes ahead Christchurch councillors will have considerably more control than they do now.

At the start of the process, along with all nine Dorset councils, Christchurch were in favour of the merger and commissioning of the initial household survey - the results of which showed that 63% of Christchurch residents were in favour of the merger.

Whilst Christchurch, who now has a different leader, may have since changed its mind, the fact remains that its representatives were as involved as everyone else in the preparation work so to now suggest that this process was flawed is rather an 'own goal'.

If the merger does go ahead the wards in Christchurch will be represented by democratically elected councillors who will have the same say as councillors from Poole and Bournemouth, and those representing the majority party will again have an equal input into choosing the leader of the council.

As I have said many times, the reason for the merger is one of finance - it is the only feasible way of protecting services without dramatically increasing council tax. It isn't a takeover and the three towns involved won't lose their identity - it will be up to the councillors democratically elected by residents to ensure this doesn't happen - including those elected to the wards within Christchurch.

I would urge residents to check the facts and information themselves.


Sea Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth