Published: 17:20, 20 September 2017
The leader of Dover District Council is to retire after 14 years, we can reveal.
Cllr Paul Watkins will step down from the role and as ward councillor for St Margaret’s at Cliffe on Saturday, September 30, 2017.
He has been leader since 2003 and is one of the longest serving council leaders in Kent.
Cllr Watkins first joined the authority as a ward councillor for Lower Walmer in 1983 and since 1999 has represented the village. He also served as chairman of the council from 1989 to 1992.
Cllr Watkins, of London Road, Deal, said: “It has been an honour to serve as a district councillor for the last 30 years and as leader of the council for the past 14 years.
“Now is the right time to pass the baton on to someone new to lead the council into its next phase, including an electoral commission review of the number of elected members, and the local elections in 2019
“I leave the district in a strong position with major regeneration projects underway bringing new investment and jobs, and with renewed confidence in the future.”
A district council spokesman confirmed there will be a by-election for the St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe ward and the details will be released in the near future.
Cllr Watkins is a former state registered nurse and retired from his position as a nursing manager running district nurses at the community hospital in Herne Bay in the 1980s. From there he ran his own nursing home businesses The Carlton Nursing Home in London Road, Deal and Carlton Lodge in Marine Road, Walmer.
He told KentOnline he is looking forward to his retirement, particularly spending more time with his wife Christine, their two daughters and three grandchildren.
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