Executive member Nick Worth will not be standing for re-election to Lincolnshire County Council in May.
He says the time has come to step down from his role on the authority, but will continue as a South Holland District Council member for at least another two years.
Cllr Worth, 63, has responsibility at the county council for culture and emergency services.
Serving 22 years as the Conservative member for Holbeach including a rollercoaster eight years on the executive – with among other things overseeing the controversial issue of handing over the running of libraries to communities – has been a “tough but enjoyable” period.
“Ironically, I decided not to stand again about 18 months ago, before lockdown,” said Cllr Worth. “With the portfolio for leisure, culture and fire and rescue, I was covering a large amount of the county – quite often in excess of 20,000 miles a year. I actually got tired of it.
“Since lockdown, I’ve probably done about 2,000 miles maximum.”
That reduction in travel and having more time at home in Holbeach St Marks has only served to underline the decision he made known to county council leader Martin Hill a year-and-a-half ago.
Naturally, the leader wanted one of his most hard-working and respected colleagues to continue, but Cllr Worth had made up his mind.
“I also felt that sometimes you can go on too long. It’s easy to say ‘I’ll stand for another four years’,” he added.
Cllr Worth said he has enjoyed his time on the executive, but the libraries saga – including a dogged fight with campaigners against the move and the county council twice having to go to the High Court to defend its actions – had been a particularly difficult challenge.
“I’m quite proud of what we achieved in the end,” he said, also pointing to the revamp of Lincoln Castle and new appliances for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue as two other satisfying achievements.
“Locally, the big thing which I’m really pleased about – and one of the issues I came on to the council for – is getting the roundabout at Peppermint Junction. That was a real coup for me.
“And that all led on to [the establishment of] the Food Enterprise Zone. It’s had national recognition and is looking like a world-class facility.”
He added: “I shall miss being on the county council because it’s a real challenge. It’s much more strategic, looking at a bigger picture and much bigger numbers – scarily so in fact.
“One of the biggest challenges of having a cultural portfolio is constantly fighting for money after adult social care, children’s service and highways.
“Two years ago the culture portfolio was set the target of breaking even over four to five years. It was a massive challenge with savings in excess of £1.5m, but credit to the staff to get to the point where we think we can do it.”
He says he is proud to have flown the flag for the south of the county as it is a constant fight to get things away from being “Lincoln-centric”.
As for the future, his decision to leave the county council has been made easier knowing that there is someone “younger, very efficient and enthusiastic” looking to keep the seat for the Tories.
Fellow district councillor Tracey Carter has confirmed that she will be standing.
Meanwhile, Cllr Worth will complete 21 years as a Holbeach member on the district council when the elections come round again in 2023. The deputy leader will make a decision then on whether to stand for re-election again.
In the meantime he’s looking forward to spending more time with his partner Sally Horne and arranging the annual Holbeach Food Festival at Carter’s Park, which this year is scheduled for September 4 and 5.