MALDON District Council is set to elect a new leader at a meeting on Thursday.

Mark Durham, who stepped up to the role in May 2017, has resigned to give more time to his other responsibilities.

Mr Durham has lead the work on the transformation of the council as it looks to fill its budget deficit of £1.7 million by 2020/21 and the change in structure at director level.

But he said due to his business commitments, his role as an Essex County Councillor and personal life he had decided to resign.

He will remain a councillor representing Wickham Bishops and Woodham.

Me Durham said: “I was finding it very difficult to balance all this.

“The transformation project is going to be a significant change for the council – it is probably the biggest change since its formation in 1974.

“With the chance to three directors at Maldon, they will need a leader who is able to commit much more time.

“They need the support of a leader who is there more or less full time.

“When I looked back through my diary, I literally had commitments for Maldon District Council nearly every day of the week as a councillor or leader, plus a lot of meetings in the evenings.”

Mr Durham said he had loved his time as leader.

But he added: “It was just not realistic and I made the decision to stand down.

“I have done my bit and the train is running and nothing can be stopped. I am very content to leave and have somebody able to dedicate more time.

“I have made it very clear I am 100 per cent committed to Maldon district and am happy to help wherever I can.

“My philosophy in life is if you can’t do something properly then don’t do it.

“I loved the job of being leader – it is a great job.

“I feel I am going to leave a legacy and the council is going to get back on track and save the money.”

Maldon District Council will elect a new leader at an extraordinary meeting of the council on Thursday.

It will be held at the council offices in Princes Road, Maldon, at 7.30pm.