A VETERAN councillor has called time on a political career spanning 35 years.

Winchester’s Chris Pines will retire at May’s election, the Labour party has announced.

The 70-year-old was first elected to Winchester City Council in 1980 and was mayor of the city from 2007 to 2008.

Cllr Pines resigned as chairman of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee last month amid controversy over its watchdog role for the Silver Hill scheme. The body has also been accused of failing to hold city chiefs to account over River Park Leisure Centre, which campaigners claim has unlawfully kept from public tender.

Chris said: “You get to a point where you have been there for a long time and you may well become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. With the best will in the world one gets set in one’s ways.

“You can get [a mentality] of ‘this is the Winchester way’ – that’s always a disaster.”

Young Labour activist Ben Farnes will fight Cllr Pines’ St John and All Saints seat at the polls in May.