Stowmarket: Veteran UKIP councillor Frank Whittle to trigger elections as he calls it a day after more than 10 years
An 80-year-old councillor is standing down as he wants to “get his life back” after serving in Suffolk for more than a decade.
Frank Whittle, a councillor for Stowmarket town and Mid Suffolk district councils for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is to retire from the two authorities.
He has formally announced his departure from the town council and is due to inform Mid Suffolk this week about his plans.
“I have done 11 years and I’m 80 now; I thought, I wanted my life back,” Mr Whittle said.
“I just feel that I have had enough. I will finish with Mid Suffolk at the end of March, I’ll put my notice in to be handed to Charlie Adan (Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils’ chief executive).
“I was there in 2007/08 as mayor of the town council – that was a busy year – I went to Buckingham Palace twice with the wife and I was the chairman of Mid Suffolk’s licensing committee when the changes came in to the licensing.”
He said he played an active part on the town council during a period when it focused on cutting the number of people drinking in the streets.
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But the veteran councillor was criticised in a Mid Suffolk council meeting last year for standing down from a planning committee.
There had been concern his departure from the committee had “penalised” other members. His membership of full council meetings for 2013/14 currently stands at 50%. In January he said that he had been considering his position due to ill health.
A spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk said: “We can confirm that Frank has resigned from the town council.
“If an election is requested by 10 electors from Stowmarket’s North Ward by March 19, then polling would take place on May 22, combined with the European Election. At the moment, there is no resignation from the district council.”
Mr Whittle said he expected to formally leave Mid Suffolk on March 28.
David Blackburn, town clerk for Stowmarket Town Council, said it was the authority’s understanding that Mr Whittle had resigned due to family commitments.
Mr Whittle, who had been a member of the Conservatives since he was a teenager, defected to UKIP in January 2013 over the party’s support for gay marriage.
But he said he had “no worries” that he is set to leave the councils as their only UKIP member.
Mr Whittle was a pub landlord for most of his working career, in Liverpool and Bristol. His last business was The Bull Hotel in Long Melford.