Plans to create a new town council in Weymouth have taken a step forward – with one councillor describing it as moving towards "a major milestone in the history and future" of the town.

There are still concerns that 29 councillors for the new authority is too many.

Councillors discussed the scope of forming a new town council at a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council management committee meeting.

It was announced that a leadership panel has been created to help oversee the process, led by council leader Jeff Cant.

The group will work with officers to draft a reorganisation order, the legal document that gives effect to the council’s decision on the new town council.

A report was presented to councillors outlining the final recommendations for the creation of a town council in Weymouth.

The report recommends the creation of a single parish (town) council covering the area, called Weymouth Town Council.

It also recommends that 29 councillors should be elected, and the parish should be divided into 12 wards. The borough council currently has 36 councillors representing 15 different wards in Weymouth and Portland.

The discussion comes after the latest round of public consultations on ‘the Future Dorset’ proposal.

The results of the second consultation have now been published and show that the council received 532 survey responses, with 68 per cent of people agreeing or agreeing strongly to the proposal for a town council (77 per cent of people supported the idea of a town council in the first consultation).

Spokesman for corporate affairs and continuous improvement Cllr Alison Reed said: “We are edging towards a major milestone in the history and future of Weymouth. When a new unitary authority is created in place of the borough council we owe it to the community to make sure Weymouth maintains a strong voice. Residents have agreed that this is important and our thanks go out to everyone who took part in the consultations."

She added there are still some concerns that 29 councillors is too many, and said: "Members understand the views of residents concerned about the number of town councillors. The strong consensus about the need to have a powerful local voice in the first days of the unitary council outweighs the delay it would take to conduct a boundary review. We have to take into account that any changes to the wards and numbers of councillors would require this. If the borough council agrees to a town council it will recommend that the town council requests a boundary review after it is set up."

The report also proposes that the first election for the proposed new council should be held in 2019 and every fourth years thereafter.

Councillors agreed to the recommendations at the meeting, and the proposal is set to go before the full council on February 22, which will make the decision on whether to form a new town council.

If agreed, the town council could be in place by April next year.

However, the council won't be able to pursue the creation of a town council until a decision is made by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on whether to create the new unitary councils for Dorset, therefore abolishing the borough council.