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Council leader confirms coming 2024 retirement

By Connor Steel

FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have announced that its leader Cllr Sean Woodward will be retiring at the next round of local elections due in early May 2024; the Tory politician outlining this move during a meeting held on Thursday night (October 26) and thus ending a long-standing career within the Civic Offices that has lasted for nearly four generations.

Mr Woodward said he would not be standing as a candidate in the 2024 election, which will be the first vote under new redrawn ward boundaries for Fareham and every seat will be up for election in a ‘similar style’ to Gosport back in 2022. The Borough will eventually vote for a total of thirty-two councillors across 16 wards, one more than this current format.

The councillor was first elected in 1985 and became leader twelve years later, surviving a boundary change in 2002 as the Conservative Party extended ‘overall dominance’ in Fareham. In their recent vote in 2022 he saw 61.3% of support from voters in the Sarisbury ward, but this was a big drop of exactly ten and a half percent since the May 2018 election.

In his long career as councillor and leader, Mr Woodward has played his part in successful projects to boost local areas including the transformations of Daedalus in 2015. Other policies cover a full refurbishment of Fareham Leisure Centre, Abbey Meadows, the purchase of Fareham Shopping Centre, and the creation of Fareham Live due to end next spring.

The announcement comes almost three years since he was forced to resign his cabinet position on Hampshire County Council due to having ‘close links’ with motorcycle display team “The Rockets”, who were applying for a £15,000 grant. He was allowed to remain as a Councillor at this county level, a role he had held since being first elected back in 2005.

Readers can read the full statement by Cllr Sean Woodward by clicking this link whilst more information on the coming Local Government Boundary Changes in the Fareham area and early processes for May next year can be seen online.

PICTURED BY BBC NEWS: Fareham Borough Council will see new leader in May 2024 following Mr Woodward’s exit.