A Hartlepool councillor has announced he has resigned.
Independent Seaton ward councillor Paul Thompson is stepping down after seven years - due to increasing work commitments.
Coun Thompson is the manager of the charity Families First in Hartlepool which recently changed its name to Families First North East to reflect its growth outside of the town.
Coun Thompson said as a result he could no longer devote the time necessary to being a councillor.
In a statement he said: “The work of this organisation continues to grow and we are launching new projects during September and have geographical growth planned during the remainder of this year.
“The organisation provides amazing and innovative services and needs my fully time attention to ensure that it continues to be outstanding.
“The work of a councillor really is ‘anytime, anyplace, any issue’.
“However, it does need your full attention and energy, which I can no longer give.
“I leave the council at a time when there are a number of imminent projects planned for Seaton, such as the improved water play area opposite the Marine Hotel which will commence September/October, the additional play facilities on Coronation Drive (October) and investment in Seaton Park. I feel privileged to have been involved in making all of these developments a reality.”
During his time on the council, Coun Thompson has been critical of many decisions of council leaders, including the decision to demolish the former Jackson’s Landing building and a 31% increase in councillor allowances.
Coun Thompson said he was confident fellow Seaton councillor James Black would continue to challenge the council leadership and spending. He also thanked residents and council officers for their support.