Published: 00:00, 12 May 2015
| Updated: 19:55, 12 May 2015
Cllr Rodney Chambers will step down as leader of Medway Council at the end of this month.
Following the Conservatives' march back to power in last week's local election, he has decided to step aside although he will continue to be a councillor for Hempstead and Wigmore ward.
He announced his decision this evening, saying: "With over 40 years of public service and following the elections last week, I have decided not to put myself forward as the leader of the council for a further term.
"I am enormously proud to have been the leader of Medway Council for the past 15 years. In this time the council has delivered many successful outcomes, which have positively changed Medway, benefitting the place and the people – our residents and businesses."
The new leader will be chosen at the full council meeting on Thursday, May 27 and Cllr Chambers will remain in charge until then.
"I will continue to serve the people of Medway as a councillor following full council and I will offer my support to the new leader and look forward to seeing more success for Medway in the next few years," he said.
Cllr Chambers, who was made an OBE in 2011 for services to local government, said the area had "witnessed tremendous change over the period of my leadership.
"Our regeneration programme has gone from strength to strength with both Rochester Riverside and Chatham Waters moving ahead. Victory Pier in Gillingham has developed and ambitious plans for Strood and Chatham progressing well.
"Much of this has been achieved by successfully bidding for funding from government and other sources and ensuring Medway is recognised as an area where regeneration is a reality that is truly benefitting residents and businesses."
Cllr Chambers twice led the battle against proposals for an estuary airport and named the
establishment of Universities at Medway and Medway Park's development as a regional centre of sporting excellence among other major achievements.
"Much has been achieved that I am so proud of, and Medway undoubtedly has a very bright future. I am confident my successor will build on the record of the last 15 years and take Medway on to new heights," he added.
Cllr Chambers was re-elected to serve Hempstead and Wigmore on Thursday alongside his wife Diane, another long-serving councillor and planning committee chairman. He said he looked forward to continuing to champion the needs of residents in his ward.