The transfer of Dorset car parks, public loos and other assets to town and parish councils may not have been ruled out after all.

Shadow council executive chairman Rebecca Knox said this week that the new Dorset Council, which comes into power in May, may decide to re-visit the decisions, if asked, once it is created.

She defended the decision not to let West Dorset District Council transfer its public toilets to town an d parish councils claiming that it was outside the agreed principles. Several West Dorset councillors claimed they and their officers has wasted 18 months trying to get agreement – only for it to be rejected at the last minute.

Cllr David Rickard from Bridport said the decision was based on “arbitrary rules...”It has not been a good way to start a new authority,” he said.

But despite the protests a majority vote at Thursday's shadow overview and scrutiny committee decided that the shadow executive and its officers had acted properly at the time the decision to reject the transfer was made last year.

In the run up to the vote several councillors said that the way the decision was taken, and the way the rules were interpreted, had left town, parish and district councils feeling let down. Cllr Cheryl Reynolds said that many now had “little or no trust” in the new unitary Dorset Council which will come into being in April.

“Instead of being win-win, it has been an unmitigated disaster,” she said.

Cllr Knox said that the door of the new authority would be open to forge new relationships with the lower tier councils once the elections were over and that transfer decisions could be re-considered. She said she hoped that, despite disappointment, there could be good working relationships with other councils and partner organisations.

She said that the shadow executive had sought to protect assets for the new council knowing that it would have to maintain and invest in crucial services, such as adult social care, from day one.