The first leader of a newly-formed Suffolk district council spoke of his 'pride' in the authority's achievements over the last four years as he stood down.

Councillor Steve Gallant became the first to lead East Suffolk Council in 2019 after it was created following the merger of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils.

READ MORE: Felixstowe councillor Steve Gallant to lead new East Suffolk Council

On Wednesday, he told a council meeting that the council had met the growing housing needs in the district, such as through the delivery of 113 affordable homes since 2019, with a further 125 homes in the 'development pipeline'.

He said 'no fewer' than 2,148 cases of homelessness had been relieved during his time, with £2.3m spent 'retrofitting' energy efficiency measures for low-income households.

He reflected on £34 million of external funding that had been secured for jobs and economic development, including regeneration projects in Lowestoft and the Freeport East scheme to create a tax relief zone for businesses.

READ MORE: Steve Gallant confirmed as first leader of new East Suffolk council

Furthermore, funding had been provided for a seafront cafe and co-working space in Felixstowe, he said.

Mr Gallant also discussed funding for community partnerships to tackle priority issues in the district, as well as the roll out of free wi-fi in 12 market towns as part of plans to transform digital communications.

He also praised the council for 'increasing and improving' leisure and culture across the district, such as providing £4 million for Waveney Valley Leisure Centre in Bungay and refurbishing Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft.

READ MORE: Suffolk news

And he hailed the council's environmental commitments and funding given to tackle coastal erosion, including switching East Suffolk Norse vehicles away from diesel fuel as the authority aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

He said: "It has been a huge honour and privilege to be the first leader of East Suffolk and I will depart knowing that we have set this council on the right course to deliver success and prosperity for our communities.

"These are difficult times, no doubt – but without our achievements of the past four years, the picture would be far more worrying."

READ MORE: Felixstowe news