THE leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has paid tribute to chief executive Tony Curtis who has announced he is to step down from his top job later this year.

As reported by The Gazette, chief executive Mr Curtis will be leaving his position on November 30 after seven years at the helm of the officer side of the local authority.

The 61-year-old father-of-three has clocked up 40 years in local Government, joining the borough council 16 years ago as its director of planning and transport, and going on to serve as the deputy chief executive for five years before being promoted to his current role in 2007.

During his time leading over 500 members of staff, who serve 170,000 residents in the borough, the local authority has been rated as the 15th best district in the country for value for money, fifth best for customer satisfaction, and the most financially resilient of all councils.

Other successes during his time at the helm include driving the creation of the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, and the regeneration of Basing View, which has attracted a new John Lewis at home and Waitrose store and a new headquarters for Network Rail.

Paying tribute to Mr Curtis, Councillor Clive Sanders, leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, said: “Tony has led the council through a difficult time when funding for local Government has been substantially reduced. He was one of the first to realise the need to restructure the council to meet the new challenges, leading to the £9million in savings that we have made for residents.

“At the same time, Tony was instrumental in helping to create the vision for the future which is starting to take shape, for example the regeneration of Basing View and the work to improve the Top of The Town.”

Cllr Sanders added: “He was particularly closely involved in the creation of the local enterprise partnership, Enterprise M3, which is now having such positive results, already attracting over £23m in government funding for our infrastructure.

“He will be greatly missed. We now need to take time to consider the best leadership of the officer side of the council for the future, consulting widely with councillors and staff on the next steps in deciding our senior management.”