A Preston councillor is stepping down to look after her elderly husband after four years in office.Advertisement
Elizabeth Atkins, who represents the Ashton ward, says she can no longer ‘juggle the plates’, and needs to spend more time looking after her other half, the former Preston North MP Ron Atkins.
Cllr Atkins, 58, who was elected in 2012, says she will miss the work she does to help her constituents with their issues – but not the cut and thrust of full council meetings.
She said: “I’ve just reached a point where there’s a lot to do in terms of ensuring I can be here for Ron.
“While I am a councillor and all the other things I am involved with it is hard to juggle all those plates.
“There’s a lot of meetings involved, and I need to be contactable in case anything happens.”
Former MP Ron Atkins was Preston’s longest-serving MP and turns 100 this year. He and Elizabeth married four years ago.
Cllr Atkins has served on the city’s planning committee for a number of years.
She said: “It’s a real challenge on the planning committee. It’s such high stakes and it’s very technical too.
“Those meetings can really go on but we have to make the right decision. There’s millions of pounds worth of applications coming in each week.
“You get back from those meetings and just feel like crawling into a ball on the floor because it’s just such high level and technical discussions going on.”
The Labour councillor says she will still be involved in community events and will miss the personal interaction she gets with residents.
“I love the advocacy side of this,” she said, “I’ve met some wonderful people here in Ashton and it’s been a pleasure to represent them.
“But Ron’s not going any younger, in his mind he’s absolutely fine, but he’s nearly 100 you know and I have to keep his health and wellbeing in mind.”
Related: Who wants your vote in the 2016 local elections?
Cllr Atkins seat is to be contested in the forthcoming local elections on Thursday 5 May.
Standing in the Ashton ward are:
Michael Balshaw (Conservtive)
Alasdair Brember (Greens)
Mark Jewell (LIb Dems)
Graeme Moitie (UKIP)
Angela Vodden (Labour)
What do you think of Cllr Atkins decision? Let us know your views in the comments below