Former North Norfolk District Council chairman and leader Simon Partridge resigns

A former leader and chairman of North Norfolk District Council has resigned to concentrate on his new job as boss of a Broads study centre.

Simon Partridge has stepped down from representing the Catfield area saying he could not devote enough time to council work, having taken over as director of the How Hill Trust at nearby Ludham.

The 49-year-old said that since starting the role in December it had 'taken more time than I thought.

'I have missed a lot of council and parish meetings. I have been critical of colleagues who did that in the past, so I thought I should give it over to somebody who can put in the time.'

Mr Partridge has been on the council for eight years, and was leader of the previously controlling Liberal Democrat group for half that time. He has also been chairman of the council, and its planning committee - making the headlines when he used his casting vote to allow the controversial Sheringham Tesco supermarket.

He was also the Lib Dems' parliamentary candidate in Great Yarmouth in 2010, but said he political career was 'on hold while I focus on How Hill.'

The centre in an historic Edwardian house has been a study centre in 1967 and now provides a range of residential courses and day visits for about 5,000 children and adults each year.

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Mr Partridge, whose wife Jean runs their bed and breakfast business at Catfield, said it was a difficult decision, and the only reason was 'not having the time to do the job properly.'

He added: 'I have not turned my back on politics. Just stepped away from it,' and had not ruled out a possible return in the future.

The district council has notified the vacancy in the Waterside ward, covering Catfield, Hickling, Ludham and Potter Heigham, and will call an election if two local electors request one.

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