Chief exec retires after 14 years at helm in West Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 08:25 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:37 27 June 2019
Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk
One of Norfolk's longest serving council bosses has announced he is to retire this summer.
Ray Harding has spent 14 years at the helm of West Norfolk council, during which he has played a key role in driving the council to become the area's largest housing developer and blocking a bid to build a large incinerator in King's Lynn.
He has also overseen the market place revamp in King's Lynn and the regeneration of Hunstanton.
Mr Harding said: "After 16 years at the council, I have decided that I reached an age where it is time to retire and let a younger generation take over.
"With a new political administration now in place for the next four years, it is time for my successor to work with the executive to deliver their priorities.
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"It has not been an easy decision and I will be leaving with mixed feelings as I have enjoyed my time at the council and feel proud of the many changes and improvements we have made to the borough."
Mr Harding started in local government in 1996 in Leominster, moving to East Cambridgeshire in 1997 before becoming a corporate director at the borough council in 2003. In March 2005, he became chief executive, a role he has held for 14 years.
Mr Harding has also been a strong advocate of healthy initiatives. A keen runner, swimmer and cyclist. He took part in the very first Grand East Anglia Run and only missed one run in the event's history.
When asked about his retirement plans, Mr Harding said he had recently become a school governor, and he intended to devote more time to charity work.
He added "I am keen to remain involved with West Norfolk, perhaps by becoming a trustee or non executive of one or two local organisations and am certainly open to offers."
Borough council leader Brian Long said: "It has been an absolute pleasure working with Ray throughout his time here. He has been driven to achieve the goals of the administration and has tackled every challenge with energy and enthusiasm. He is personable and has always made every effort to get to know the councillors and his employees. He will be greatly missed by all."
Mr Harding's replacement will be recruited internally.