AFTER seven years at the helm of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Councillor Clive Sanders is step down from the post.

The leader of the borough council announced on Thursday last week that following May’s round of elections he will step down from the role, but continue as a backbench councillor.

At a meeting of the full council where he made the announcement, Cllr Sanders said his decision was not political but “purely selfish”.

Cllr Sanders said: “I have reached the stage in my life when I am starting to attend the funerals of too many contemporaries.

“Whilst I am spending time in meetings and committees, friends are jetting around the world. I want some of that and my wife who has suffered from all the pressure, the long hours and late council nights deserves it even more.

“I intend to devote as much active life as I have left to pure self-indulgence.”

Born in Bromley, Kent, Cllr Sanders won a local authority scholarship to Dulwich College, followed by a place at St John’s College Cambridge, where he said he divided his time unevenly between studying and promoting rock gigs.

After a spell living in Paris, Cllr Sanders moved to East Woodhay in 1982.

First elected in May 2006 as ward member for East Woodhay, Cllr Sanders moved up the ranks quickly, being appointed to the cabinet the next year and then as leader in February 2012.

He said: “I am immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve since I became a councillor and subsequently over the last seven years as leader.

“When I took over leadership the council was in the midst of turmoil over Manydown in the High Court, with no clear sense of direction, no Local Plan and little inward investment. Today we have a planning application submitted for Manydown to build thousands of much-needed homes.”

Cllr Sanders will step down as leader officially on May 16.