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How do we prevent auto merge to master Edited

We recently got rid of our develop branch in our repository, because we weren't using it for anything. We use release branches with version numbers in them, and we merge those to master when they're deployed. We use automatic merging so that when a pull request is merged to release/8.0.0 it will auto merge to release/9.0.0 etc. But, now that we don't have a develop branch, bitbucket wants to further auto-merge to master, but we don't want this.

Our branching model is currently configured with master as the default branch. The "development" branch setting is set to the default branch (so master). There isn't a setting to tell it we have no development branch (in reality it's whatever the latest release branch is but that changes frequently so we can't use that here). The production branch setting is set also to the default branch (master). We want to maintain the release branch auto-merging without auto-merging to master. Is there any way to accomplish this without having a static development branch?

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