Leaders’ ‘regret’ as young councillors to step down

Resignation: Alexandra Thompson-Ortega is standing down
Resignation: Alexandra Thompson-Ortega is standing down
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The Town Hall is to lose some of its youngest faces, with the resignation of two councillors.

Labour councillor for Larches, Samuel Gardiner, and Conservative councillor for Preston Rural North, Alexandra Thompson-Ortega, have both announced they will not be re-standing in May’s election, because of work commitments.

Resignation: Samuel Gardiner is standing down

Resignation: Samuel Gardiner is standing down

And leaders have said their decision reflects the “real problem” local government has in attracting young people onto the council.

Council leader Coun Peter Rankin said: “I do regret that Sam is going. When he joined us I had great hopes for Sam because he is very bright and has got a lot of talent.

“But unfortunately, like a lot of young people, their career has to come first and I think local government has a real problem in attracting young people into the council.

“It gives us a problem in Preston where we’ve got a very good university that’s producing large numbers of graduates and they are having to leave, and there is something wrong there, that we are losing that sort of talent.

I do regret that Sam is going. When he joined us I had great hopes for Sam because he is very bright and has got a lot of talent

Coun Peter Rankin

“I do regret we’ve lost him and the average age of the Labour group has shot up again.”

Conservative group leader Coun Eric Fazackerley, who is also stepping down at this year’s elections, said: “Alex had a relatively short stint and unfortunately work commitments are impinging on getting the right sort of generation of people into this council chamber.

“I think the average age of a councillor is something like 62 and it’s important the younger generation do something that will reduce that.

“I’ve often listened to Alex and the thing I’ve often said is ‘I wish I had thought of that’ and that’s the issue I’m talking about – young people have different ideas.”