LYDIARD and Freshbrook’s representative Councillor Michael Dickinson has decied not to seek re-election in May due to work commitments.

The Conservative councillor was voted to the former Freshbrook and Grange Park ward seat, now Lydiard and Freshbrook, in 2000 and went on to win another four consecutive elections.

But his day-time job as financial accountant New College as the has made it increasingly difficult to combine with his council duties.

He also teaches part time for the Association of Accounting Technicians.

“I have decided not to stand for election again this year, after five successful elections, initially in the old Freshbrook and Grange Park ward in May 2000,” he said. “This decision to stand down is due to a number of factors, but the foremost one is my job has changed; now I am working in the evening which is hindering my ability to attend meetings.

“I must thank the electors for this privilege of being able to represent them and I can say I have enjoyed my time on Swindon Borough Council.

“Up to the next election I will continue to work for the residents in the Lydiard & Freshbrook ward; alongside my colleagues Mick Bray, Tim Swinyard and Robert Buckland MP.”

Coun Dickinson has championed many projects over the years in his ward, including the provision of free parking at Lydiard Park. He was also instrumental in the reopening of Freshbrook Community Centre, which is run by volunteers.

Behind the scenes, he moved the motion in council for the creation of area panels, now known as area forums or localities and co-wrote the budget that introduced the first kerbside recycling in Swindon.

South Swindon MP Robert Buck-land said: “Over the years we have become good friends as well as colleagues.

“He has been a pleasure to work with. He has been a councillor since 2000. He is committed to supporting our town and I am sure he will carry on working with me to advance the interests of the community that we serve, even after May.

Swindon Council leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) said: “Michael has been a fantastic servant of his ward and the people of Swindon in general. He has worked very hard on behalf of residents both in the community and in council meetings. His contribution will be sorely missed.”