Tory leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council to stand down
The leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council Ken Hind says he will stand down from this role in the New Year.
"After 35 years in public life as an MP and councillor I have decided to give up the leadership of the Ribble Valley Borough Council and the Conservative Councillors Group in the New Year," said Coun. Hind.
"I am now retired and not getting any younger so it is important that someone with more energy and with youth on their side takes over the reins of leadership. I will be there to support and give advice when asked."
Coun. Hind added: "There will have to be an orderly transition to a new leader who will have a chance to run in before the May council elections and then hopefully lead the council from May 2019 onwards."
Coun. Hind is currently the subject of a live complaint at the council.
Whalley councillor Terry Hill, who is leader of the breakaway Democratic Conservative Party, called for him to stand down as leader following a recent meeting during which a contentious proposal to change the council’s complaints procedure was almost unanimously ditched after opposition from councillors.
On hearing the news that Coun. Hind will be standing down, Coun. Hill said: "If he does step down, and that still remains to be seen, then myself and my group of councillors will be pleased.
"However, the really honourable thing to do following his behaviour over the last 12 months, which has brought the reputation of the council into disrepute, would be to resign as a councillor."
Meanwhile, the leader of the borough’s Liberal Democratic Group, Coun. Allan Knox said: “His time has been up for several months.
“In September, the council’s chief executive talked about him interfering and intimidating in a complaint against him, which led to me moving a motion of no confidence in the then leader, where he scraped through by a mere seven votes.
“From then on he was dead man walking."
Speaking more about his decision to step down as leader of the council, Coun. Ken Hind added: "It has been a great privilege to lead a borough council and work with many dedicated councillors. We have done a great deal in my tenor of office refocusing the direction of the council to driving the local economy and securing our income to maintain our services from business rates. We also recognised it was necessary to reorganise the management structure to accomplish this as well as the committee system. At the same time we reorganised the planning department to address the problems of house building in our towns and the need to encourage infrastructure development.
"It has also long been an important concern for me that elected councillors have a greater role in decision making and executive power. Whilst it is important to respect and work with officers, the final decision-makers are elected councillors who are accountable to the public.
He added: "I shall still be busy in the Conservative cause in the next few months however.
"In the run up to the election I will be devoting my time as agent and campaign co-ordinator to campaigning for 40 Conservative candidates. I will be concentrating on making sure that as many Conservatives candidates as possible are returned as councillors at the May council election so they can make the difference in the lives of Ribble Valley residents."
Deputy chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, Coun. Ged Mirfin, who is a councillor for Billington and Old Langho, said: "I think we all need to recognise the enormous work load of a modern council leader."
He added: "Ken Hind in his statement has said that he is not getting any younger and the group and the association would like to wish him well in his retirement from the post of council leader."
Coun. Mirfin said that it was important to recognise the "incredible strain" that Coun. Hind has been under due to the complaint which is still ongoing against him.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans was unavailable for comment.