Option 2a: Large Conurbation and Small Dorset

Large Conurbation (Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset and Poole, plus the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area) covering 64% of Dorset’s population (based on projections for 2019)

and Small Dorset (North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland, plus the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area) covering 36% of Dorset’s population (based on projections for 2019)

Key features of option 2a:

  • This option would provide a total contribution of £39.6 million towards meeting the funding gap in 2024/25, providing £62.9 million for the Large Conurbation’s annual budget and creating a £23.3 million deficit in the Small Dorset annual budget.
  • A large urban unitary council would be financially viable, with a high national profile, however there may be significant challenges to the Small Dorset unitary council.
  • The population in the Small Dorset unitary (286,400) is lower than the government guidelines (400,000 to 600,000) for an efficiently-functioning unitary council.
  • There is a one-off complexity and cost involved in separating and transferring services currently provided by Dorset County Council in Christchurch and East Dorset to the Large Conurbation.

The predicted levels of council tax increase across Dorset in 2019/20 under option 2a

Council tax harmonisation – Large Conurbation

  • Bournemouth: 3.85%
  • Christchurch + Dorset County Council: 3.78%
  • East Dorset + Dorset County Council: 3.2%
  • Poole: 3.99%

Council tax harmonisation – Small Dorset

  • North Dorset + Dorset County Council: 3.99%
  • Purbeck + Dorset County Council: 3.78%
  • West Dorset + Dorset County Council: 3.93%
  • Weymouth & Portland + Dorset County Council: 3.91%
  1. Does not include council tax that households pay to Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority or any precept set by town and parish councils.
  2. It is anticipated that harmonisation would take place over 20 years, starting in 2019/20.
  3. Council tax rises limited to 3.99%.