(P.9) Booth quits, prompting by-election

Bromley and Beckenham Times 27 May 1999

Residents in Bromley Common and Keston face a by-election following the announcement that councillor Paul Booth is to step down after 11 years.

The decision was announced by the Liberal-Democrat at the council s annual meeting last week. Mr Booth said it had been a great privilege to serve residents but found it increasingly difficult juggling responsibilities to his family his work as a senior manager and his council duties.

An election will be held on July 1.

For the past year Mr Booth, 47, has chaired the development control committee where he introduced the rights of the public to speak at planning meetings. He was also the party spokesman on planning issues and lead their opposition to the proposed Holwood development on Green Bell land at Keston.

The married father-of-two said the hardest meeting he had to chair was the recent Crystal Palace leisure complex proposal attended by 600 angry protestors.

He said: "I knew it was going to be difficult but I aimed to get through the whole agenda and we did . . . and we gave the public an opportunity to .speak.

All three parties have paid tribute to Mr Booth.

Liberal-Democrat leader Chris Mains said: "Paul has been excellent and well-respected councillor representing the residents or Bromley Common and Keston. It is a tribute to the respect he has in the borough that councillors from all three parties joined me in wishing him well."

Conservative leader Michael Tickner said: "It is sad to lose a very capable chairman of the development control committee."

Labour leader John Holbrook, who worked with Mr Booth on planning issues, added: "The council has lost an outstanding councillor. I think his contribution particularly in planning will be greatly missed.~

Last May, in the local elections, Mr Booth won the seat by 2,284 votes. Two other Liberal-Democrats also hold seats in the ward of 2,030 and 2,027 respectively. The Conservatives highest candidate polled 1,670 votes and Labour 495. The ruling Lib-Dem and Labour partnership have a four-seat majority in the borough.

Candidates' nominations must be lodged with the Council by noon on on June 4. The by-election will be held on July 1.

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