Fareham's council leader is set to retire after 38 years in politics.

Executive leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Seán Woodward, will not stand as a candidate in the 2024 local elections.

Cllr Woodward said the time has come to "take back control of my life" after 25 years at the helm.

Speaking at a council meeting on Thursday, Cllr Woodward said: “So, after 38 years as a local councillor, and 25 years as leader of Fareham Borough Council – that is half of the time that the Borough of Fareham has been in existence - I will be retiring.

“With an all-out election due next year as a result of the boundary changes, this feels like a natural end point and the right time for me to bow out and take back control of my life.

“This while I am still of an age where I can do some things for myself and my family without being tied to the diary that I have for the last four decades.

“I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved under my watch, especially those projects that will benefit people for many years into the future.”

During his 25-year tenure as leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Woodward has overseen the acquisition of Solent Airport, Daedalus in 2015; the refurbishment of Fareham Leisure Centre and the addition of a new leisure centre at Holly Hill; and the opening of new parks, such as Abbey Meadows and the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Park and community centres at Whiteley, Portchester and Burridge.

Cllr Woodward added: “Finally, I’d like to add that of course all of the foregoing does not mean that anything will change right now.

“I will continue to have my foot flat to the floor as always, pedal to the metal, right to May when I end my time as councillor for Sarisbury and leader of this council.

“There remains much to do, and I am now in even more of a hurry than usual to get it done.”