North Devon Council leader Des Brailey MBE has announced he is standing down as a councillor in May.

Mr Brailey said he had taken the decision to step down at the May 2 district election after much deliberation but wished to spend more time with his family.

He has served 16 years as a Conservative councillor, including two years as deputy leader and six years as leader of the council.

He said: “Having discussed this at length with friends, colleagues and relatives, I feel this is the right time to stand down and spend more time with my family.

“I stand down proud of the work that I and my colleagues have done in council, particularly over the last four years.

“There have been some difficult decisions and necessary changes, but we have secured an exceptional amount of investment into the area.

“In this regard it's been a pleasure to work with our MP, who has always supported the Council in fighting for North Devon.”

Mr Brailey said it had been an honour to play a leading role in bringing investment to the North Devon Link Road and he was also delighted the council had now secured funding for a new leisure centre in Barnstaple.

He added: “I want to thank all my fellow councillors from all parties for being so supportive, and in particular our officers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.

“I will continue to help our councillors in every way that I can, but it is now time for me to put my family first.

“Leading the council is really a full-time job; I now want to spend time touring and visiting my two sons in Bristol and in the USA.

“I wish all my colleagues the best of luck for the future and the upcoming elections, and will continue to assist wherever and however I can.”