The leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council Ken Hind has resigned.
Earlier this week he released a statement stating he wished to stand down from this role in the New Year, but it has now emerged he resigned at midnight yesterday (Thursday).
Deputy chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, Coun. Ged Mirfin, who is a councillor for Billington and Old Langho confirmed the news this morning (Friday).
He said: "The Leader of the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council, Ken Hind, has brought forward his resignation date, resigning at midnight on Thursday, December 20th. He has done this in order to avoid any uncertainty and confusion whilst away on holiday during the Christmas period."
Coun. Mirfin, who is also press secretary for the borough council's Conservative Group, revealed Coun. Hind's replacement for the interim period. He added: "He will be replaced in the interim by the current Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, Coun. Stephen Atkinson until a group meeting takes place when a new leader will be elected."
On Wednesday morning, Coun. Hind said: "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.
"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 is currently the subject of a live complaint at the council.
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.
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."