A legal challenge which could have stopped County Durham's plans to become a unitary authority has been dismissed.
The unitary authority will be created in April 2009
Three district councils in Cheshire and Shropshire launched an appeal after failing in a bid to gain a judicial review last October.
But three Court of Appeal judges dismissed their application to block the new authorities on Tuesday.
Seven district councils are to be scrapped in Durham and the new authority created in April 2009.
Chester-le-Street, Derwentside, Easington, Sedgefield, Teesdale, Wear Valley and Durham City will come under control of County Durham.
Leader of Durham County Council Albert Nugent responded to the Court of Appeal decision to dismiss Congleton, Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Councils challenge.
He said: "It allows us to continue the work we have already started with district colleagues to bring our respective organisations together.
"Local people will have an opportunity to vote in the county council elections on 1 May for the councillors they want to set up the new council."