A HUDDERSFIELD man is stepping down after three decades on Kirklees Council.
Clr John Smithson, who has represented Almondbury since 1982, last night confirmed he will not contest the May election.
He was deputy leader of the council from 2000 to 2006 and Cabinet member for schools for six months in 2009.
His party leader Clr Kath Pinnock paid tribute to him at last night’s council meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall.
“This is the end of an era,” she said.
“John has been a towering figure in local politics who has been re-elected with huge majorities eight times.
“He has given 29 years of unbroken service to the people of Almondbury.”
The Cleckheaton councillor added: “John has been the driving force behind the resurgence of liberalism in Huddersfield.
“He’s the person you want by your side at difficult times.
“The drive to campaign is never far from the surface with John and we will miss his drive, energy and enthusiasm.”
Councillors also paid tribute to four other members of Kirklees who are retiring in May: Greenhead Labour councillor Barbara Jones; Colne
Valley Lib Dem councillor Margaret Fearnley; Batley West Labour councillor Mary Harkin and Liversedge and Gomersal Conservative Clr Derrick Yates.