HE HAS proudly represented the people of Popley for more than a decade – but this week, Andy McCormick called time on his career as a borough councillor.

Since last summer, the 43-year-old has been travelling back from his place of work in Bradford to attend Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council meetings, but he has now admitted that this is “not sustainable”. His Popley East seat will now be added to the list of seats up for grabs in May’s local elections.

Andy was first elected in 2002, and in that time, he has won five consecutive elections during what has been the biggest period of change in the suburb for decades.

He said: “An awful lot has gone on in Popley. It was quite a run-down place back in 2002, and there were endemic problems with poverty, crime, anti-social-behaviour, graffiti and all sorts of other things.

“Since then, it has changed massively and we (local councillors) have been the drivers of most of that. The Barbican pub has closed, there is a new school at Everest Community Academy, and a host of regeneration projects.

“More has gone on in Popley than anywhere else in the borough, and most of that has been down to the councillor team. Popley is a visibly changed place compared to what it was 10 years ago, and it is a much nicer and safer place.”

Andy, a software engineer, lost his job in London last May, and took a new job in Bradford in July. He said he will continue to be active in local politics, and will stand for the Shipley ward in Bradford Metropolitan District Council in May.

Meanwhile, the local Labour group has selected Viv Washbourne as its candidate to fight his old Popley East seat. Paying tribute to her departing colleague, Labour group leader Cllr Laura James said: “It is very sad to see him go, but he has to move away for work commitments like a lot of people are.

“It is going to be a real loss to the group and the people of Popley. He has done lots of great work and has been a very active councillor in the ward. He has been one of the leading members of the Labour team, and will be sorely missed.”