East Dorset

Coordinates: 50°48′59.84″N 1°58′53.36″W / 50.8166222°N 1.9814889°W / 50.8166222; -1.9814889
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East Dorset District
Image: 150 pixels
East Dorset shown within Dorset
East Dorset shown within Dorset
Coordinates: 50°48′59.84″N 1°58′53.36″W / 50.8166222°N 1.9814889°W / 50.8166222; -1.9814889
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth West England
Non-metropolitan countyDorset
Admin HQWimborne
Incorporated1 April 1974 to 30 March 2019
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyEast Dorset District Council
 • LeadershipAlternative - Sec.31 ( )
 • MPsChristopher Chope
Simon Hoare[1]
Michael Tomlinson
 • Total136.8 sq mi (354.4 km2)
 • Total89,400
 • Density650/sq mi (250/km2)
 • Ethnicity
99.0% White
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code19UD (ONS)
E07000049 (GSS)
OS grid referenceSU0130301959

East Dorset was a local government district in Dorset, England. Its council met in Wimborne Minster between 2016 and 2019.[2][3]

The district (as Wimborne) was formed on 1 April 1974 by merging Wimborne Minster Urban District with Wimborne and Cranborne Rural District, plus the parish of St Leonards and St Ives transferred from the Ringwood and Fordingbridge Rural District in Hampshire.[4] The district was renamed East Dorset with effect from 1 January 1988. The district was abolished in 2019 at the same time that Dorset County Council and the other districts in the county were abolished, with the area becoming part of the Dorset unitary authority on 1 April 2019.

The popularity of the area, being close to the New Forest, Bournemouth and the Dorset coast saw a rapid expansion in housing from the 1970s with the Verwood, Ferndown, West Moors and Corfe Mullen populations more than quadrupling. Rural landscape prevailed in the north and west of the area. Wimborne Minster retained its identity as a historic market town.

The most notable geography is lowland heath, managed by East Dorset Countryside Management Services in partnership with the Forestry Commission. The expansion of housing has led to a massive decrease in the area of this unusual and unique habitat, which once covered 500 km2 but now covers only 15% of that.

Statistics released[5] by the Office for National Statistics show that life expectancy at birth for males in East Dorset was 80.1 years in 2001–2003, the highest in the United Kingdom. Female life expectancy at birth for the same period was 83.4 years, ranking seventh in the UK. The figures for East Dorset during 1991-1993 were 77.9 years for males and 82.5 for females.


East Dorset District Council was elected every four years, with latterly 36 councillors being elected at each election. After 1976 the Conservative party held a majority on the council apart from a period between the 1995 and 1999 elections when the Liberal Democrats had control. Following the 2015 election the council's politicians were:-[6]

Party Councillors
Conservative Party 24
Liberal Democrats 3
Independent 2

The district and its council were abolished on 1 April 2019 and, together with the other 4 Dorset districts outside the greater Bournemouth area, formed a new Dorset unitary authority.[7]


Settlements with a population over 2,500 are in bold.


Until 2016 the council was based at Woodleaze, a large house at Furzehill in the parish of Colehill, just north of the town of Wimborne Minster. Woodleaze had previously served as the headquarters of Wimborne and Cranborne Rural District Council.[8] In 2016 the council moved to Allenview House on Hanham Road in the town centre of Wimborne Minster.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dorset North Parliamentary constituency". Election 2015. BBC. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Relocation of East Dorset District Council offices". Dorset Council. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Contact East Dorset District Council". www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk.
  4. ^ "The English Non-Metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 30 June 2022
  5. ^ Life expectancy at birth in the United Kingdom, Office for National Statistics
  6. ^ "Local election results for Christchurch and East Dorset". dorsetforyou.com. 13 May 2015. Archived from the original on 13 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  7. ^ Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (25 May 2018). "The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole (Structural Changes) Order 2018". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Town and Country Planning Act 1947". London Gazette (41718): 3405. 26 May 1959. Retrieved 30 June 2022. ...and at the Wimborne and Cranborne R.D.C. Offices, Woodleaze, Furzehill, Wimborne...