Plans to create a new single council for East Kent are being postponed after Shepway District Council voted against the proposal.
The plan would have seen the four existing councils merged - Shepway, Thanet, Dover and Canterbury - and replaced with one ‘super council’.
Shepway’s decision means that none of the councils can proceed with the proposal.
Leader of Shepway District Council, Cllr David Monk, said: ‘We will need to take time to consider what implications that has for how we deliver services. Without any grant from central government significant savings will still be required. I have asked our officers to come forward with fresh proposals that will be put before council.’
The councils have confirmed they will now consider alternative options for the future of local government in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the East Kent councils, leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Chris Wells, said: ‘We cannot shy away from the fact there are some big challenges facing the councils in East Kent and we need to think about new and innovative ways of tackling them.
‘The levels of savings we each need to achieve have been widely documented, and that position remains the same. We now need to identify a suitable way forward to ensure we’re in the best possible position for the future of East Kent.
‘Once we have gone through that process, we will come forward with fresh proposals.’