Popular politician steps down from council role

Coun Jim Owen
Coun Jim Owen

A popular South Ribble councillor has resigned from his post because of ill health.

Coun Jim Owen, who has represents the Bamber Bridge East ward at South Ribble Borough Council, was diagnosed with a growth on the stem of his brain in December last year.

Despite undergoing rigorous treatment in hospital he vowed to continue his work and retained his seat at the council in May’s elections.

Coun Owen said he has now made the decision to resign because he no longer feels able to represent his constituents in the best way possible.

Speaking from his home in Stockdale Crescent, where he is being cared for by his family, he said: “It is now clear that I will not be able to continue to represent the people of Bamber Bridge to the standard they deserve.

“I have loved every moment of my time on the council and wish my successor well.”

After being elected in 1991, Jim went on to become the Mayor of South Ribble in 1998 and was a long-standing member of the council’s licensing committee. He also worked hard to secure improvements to Withy Grove Park and was the chair of Bamber Bridge Area Committee from 2001 until 2006.

Coun Dave Watts, who also represents the ward, said: “It has been my privilege to have worked with Jimmy over the years. He is so passionate about Bamber Bridge and a hugely popular man.’

Coun Matthew Tomlinson, leader of the Labour Group on South Ribble Council, said: “Jimmy has been a wonderful local councillor. His love of Bamber Bridge and his determination to get the best deal for his residents is evident to all.

“He is well liked at the council and his contribution will be missed.”

The resignation will result in a by-election in the ward, which is expected to go ahead on October 13.