Planning is likely to be dealt with in a different way under the new Dorset Council.

At the moment applications are dealt with by district, or borough, planning and development committees with many, less contentious items being decided by officers.

Those preparing for the new council, which comes into being in April, are investigating whether planning items could be dealt with by area boards – or one committee covering the whole of rural Dorset.

Another option is for area planning committees and one over-arching committee for the whole area, which deals with strategic issues.

Senior officer for the new authority, Matt Prosser, said that if the new council did decided to opt for area boards it was unlikely they would replicate the existing borough and district areas.

But to decide on area boards would, inevitably, mean a protracted negotiation and possibly a consultation about where the borders should be.

One areas which is likely to change is the current borders between Weymouth and Portland Borough and West Dorset District Council.

Here parts of the Granby Industrial Estate, parts of Littlemoor and Chickerell fall within West Dorset, although most would consider the logical placing to be with Weymouth.

Mr Prosser told the shadow overview and scrutiny committee that officers were looking at other authorities, such as health, to see whether the areas they use could be adopted and if there was any benefit in doing so.

He said that, at the moment, no decisions had been taken with further work required before anything was brought forward as a proposal.

Under the current system planning applications are also brought before town and parish councils for their comments. Mr Prosser did not say whether this was likely to change, or was even being considered.