A BY-ELECTION is set to be held in Hartlepool after a councillor handed in his resignation.
Independent councillor Mike Turner, 59, who represents the Seaton Ward in town, has handed in his notice.
The experienced councillor, who was re-elected in May at the all-out election, said he has done so because of increasing caring responsibilities for his parents.
He was elected for a further four years until 2016 but a by-election is now set to be held.
Coun Turner confirmed to the Mail that he has resigned as a member of the council and thanked people for their support over the years.
The Seaton councillor is currently vice-chairman of the council’s audit committee and is a member of regeneration and planning services scrutiny and north and coastal neighbourhood forums.
Coun Turner said: “I have done so due to increasing caring responsibilities for my elderly parents, whose needs have become more acute in recent months and who do not live in Hartlepool.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me in the past.”
Born in Sheffield, he was elected to represent the Seaton Ward in 1999 after previously representing the Rift House ward.
Over the years, Coun Turner has been heavily involved in the contaminated land issue at Seaton and highlighting problems with landfill sites and the eyesore Longscar building on the front.
Coun Turner used to be a Labour councillor before turning independent.
The other councillors for the Seaton Ward are independent councillors Cath Hill and Paul Thompson.
Coun Hill said: “He is a real independent and he always stuck with that.
“He is totally committed to working with and for the people of Seaton Carew.
“I have absolutely enjoyed working with him and the three of us are very close.”
Coun Thompson said: “It will be a sad loss to the residents of Seaton as Mike has been dedicated to the community for the last 14 years.
“He has been a great colleague to work with in my short term as a councillor.
“It is unfortunate that personal circumstances at the moment have led to it but I’m sure anyone in the same position would do the same thing.”
Coun Thompson added: “The ward councillors at Seaton have worked well together and we look forward to working with whoever is selected by the electorate.”
A notice will now be displayed outside the Civic Centre and on the council’s website informing people of the vacancy.
An election will be held if two electors from within the borough ask in writing for the election procedure to begin.
If that happens then a date will be set within 35 days of the returning officer receiving the request.
If not, then the vacancy will be filled at the next elections on November 15, the same day as the Mayoral referendum.