HAMPSHIRE County Council chairman Keith Chapman has announced his intention to step down at the May local election, after almost four decades in local politics.
A Pamber Heath villager and former chairman of Pamber Parish Council, Mr Chapman, aged 74, has announced his impending retirement at several recent North Hampshire parish council meetings, including in Kingsclere and Ashford Hill.
“You have to pick a time to go when you are on a high and I think I have reached the pinnacle, having been mayor of Basingstoke and Deane twice and county council chairman,” said Mr Chapman.
Appointed an MBE last year for services to arts and culture, he is the current chairman of Hampshire County Council.
He was elected in 2001 as the county councillor for Calleva and Kingsclere (Con).
Mr Chapman is also a former borough councillor and was mayor of Basingstoke and Deane in 1992/93 and again in 2010/11, accompanied by his wife Jenny, the former mayoress.
The pair celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in March.
He was the elected ward councillor for Bramley and Stratfield Saye (1979-1992), Calleva (1992-2002) and Pamber and Silchester (2002-2012).
After joining Hampshire Fire and Rescue authority in 2001, he was vice chairman from 2014 to 2016, and was a governor at Silchester Primary School for 22 years.
Also at last Monday’s Ashford Hill with Headley parish council meeting was prospective Conservative candidate for the county council electoral division of Tadley and Baughurst, Monk Sherborne villager Derek Mellor.
After the meeting at Ashford Hill Village Hall, Mr Mellor said: “I’m thrilled to have been selected as the Conservative candidate for the Tadley and Baughurst division.”
Boundary changes have seen shifts in Lib Dem Warwick Lovegrove’s Tadley and Baughurst division.
Hampshire voters go to the polls at the local election to choose their representative on Hampshire County Council on Thursday, May 4.
All 76 county council divisions are up in the election.
The deadline for nomination papers is 4pm on Tuesday, April 4, and voters must be registered by Thursday, April 13.
The deadline for postal vote applications is 5pm on Tuesday, April 18, and for proxy votes it is 5pm on Tuesday, April 25.