A by-election is to be held in Hartlepool next month after a long-standing councillor stepped down.
Coun Ray Martin-Wells announced last month that he was to leave his roles as representative for the Rural West Ward on Hartlepool Borough Council and Conservative Group Leader on the council.
A by-election to select his successor in the Rural West ward is to be held on July 12, the council has confirmed.
Mr Martin-Wells was chairman of North East Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee and has been a strong voice for health services for people in the town.
He was a key driver of the council launching legal action in the High Court against North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust over the closure of the Assisted Reproduction Unit at the town’s hospital.
He has been in politics since the age of 18 and is now approaching 50.
Mr Martin-Wells cited wanting to spend more time with his family as the primary reason for stepping down.
He was also vice chairman of the Better Health Programme Scrutiny Committee and a member of the Planning Committee, Appointments Panel, and the Constitution Committee and Personnel Sub-Committee.
Mr Martin-Wells announced his decision to stand down at a meeting of the full council.
He said: "Having entered politics at the tender age of 18, and soon to be celebrating my 50th birthday, I’ve amassed almost 32 years in local politics.
"My husband Andrew and I are shortly to become grandparents for the first time and that has prompted me to re-evaluate my priorities.
"After much heart-wrenching, I’ve decided to reduce my political life to spend more time with my growing family I will therefore be stepping down as Conservative Group Leader and from the council.
"It’s been an absolute honour and privilege to serve my home town."
Nominations for the Rural West ward must be delivered to the returning officer at Hartlepool Civic Centre no later than 4pm next Friday.