Some district and borough councillors mentioned that the shadow Dorset Council executive is taking away major decision-making (their democracy) from them, although they still have five months remaining as sovereign councils.
In West Dorset, there is brewing anger over the refusal to enable the district council to transfer public loos to town and parish councils. In addition to this, Weymouth and Portland councillors remain concerned that they will be handing over car parks or the borough’s hotels to the new Weymouth Town Council because the shadow executive decided that it wants to have the sites for the new unitary council.
Jonathan Mair, the interim monitoring officer for the shadow Dorset Council said, “Each of the existing councils has appointed councillors to be part of the shadow executive committee. Not all 172 councillors can be members of the Shadow Executive Committee of 20 and take decisions but that does not make the arrangements undemocratic.”
But David Rickard, Bridport councillor, says that district councillors presently possess a few powers to make major decisions, despite promises at the beginning of the local government change process of regular business until March next year.
In the middle of the arguments and disagreements is a £100,000 limit to transfers. It is required to consult the shadow executive, as they have the power to overrule the decisions of existing district and borough councils. Cllr Rickard commented, “The problem now is that as soon as anything goes to the shadow (executive) we lose it. There is an awful lot they could have done at devolved level but now democracy is falling apart.”