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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Former Allerdale council leader retires from politics

Former Allerdale council leader Tim Heslop has retired from local politics after more than 20 years.

tim flood 2203
RETIRING: Tim Heslop at the reopening of Cockermouth Main Street reopens after the November 2009 floods

Mr Heslop, 74, a farmer, was elected to Allerdale council in May 1991 after two decades in the NFU, where he ended up as county chairman.

He joined Cumbria County Council two years later.

Joining the county council cabinet for a time in the early 2000s, Mr Heslop stood down in 2009 when he took over the leadership of the Alliance-led Allerdale council from Joe Milburn.

He led Allerdale council for two years until the 2011 election which saw Labour take control.

He remained as Conservative group leader but moved to Brampton with his wife Margaret late last year, having sold High Dyke, the Cockermouth farm estate which he had taken over from his late father.

He was ineligible to stand for re-election in two years because he no longer lives in the Allerdale borough, and decided that the distance between his new home and his Derwent Valley ward made it difficult to serve its residents in the meantime.

Mr Heslop said his biggest challenge as a councillor was dealing with the 2009 floods.

He added: “A lot of us who had the responsible positions hadn’t been there very long.

“I appointed Allerdale chief executive Harry Dyke when I took over. Within six months we had the floods.

“Jim Buchanan had just taken over as leader of the county council and Jill Stannard was taken on as its chief executive the day the floods happened. It was fairly hectic.

“It wasn’t all my doing but we did get the shops back up and running in Cockermouth pretty quickly.”

During his time as county council cabinet member responsible for the economy, Mr Heslop also chaired the Lillyhall Partnership, which was set up to attract businesses to the industrial estate.

The timing of Mr Heslop’s resignation means that a by-election can be held on the same day as the regular county council elections in May.

He called on his successor to look after the area, citing the need for affordable housing as the top priority.

A by-election will also be held for Wampool ward as fellow Conservative councillor Stuart Moffat has stepped down because of a long-term arm injury.

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