Keith Trenchard, one of the three Liberal Democrat councillor’s who serves Eastleigh’s Central Ward has handed in his resignation today triggering a by-election which is likely to be held in May.
Until recently Trenchard had been a managing director at local transport company Airlynx Express but he decided to leave to start up his company in January.
In an exclusive interview with Eastleigh News Mr Trenchard said that he was standing down in order to spend more time on establishing his new VIP chauffeuring business.
“I just don’t get time for council meetings anymore. I have a new business and I have to put the hours in. Maybe a couple of years down the road when I have a couple of people working for me I might be able to do it again”
Trenchard’s seat wasn’t due to recontested until 2019 but would he would have had to face the polls in 2018 anyway when proposed boundary changes will come into force.
The expectation is that the by-election will be run on the same day as the County Elections.
Keith Trenchard first won his central ward seat in 2011 defeating Andy Moore who had resigned from the Lib Dems to stand as an independent – though in 2015 Moore won the County Council division of Eastleigh East for Ukip.
Following Keith Trenchard’s election, the leader of Eastleigh’s Independent Group of Councillors Glynn Davies-Dear made a complaint to the police and the returning officer for Eastleigh that Trenchard’s campaign material had been deliberately misleading but the complaint was not upheld.
A few weeks later, Trenchard was one of a trio of Lib Dem councillors who followed and filmed Davies-Dear driving an unlicensed vehicle and subsequently reported him to the police for evading Road Tax.
Trenchard successfully defended his seat in 2015.
Keith Trenchard told Eastleigh News that he is leaving the Lib Dem group on Eastleigh Borough Council on amicable terms and wishes his former colleagues well.
“I’ve enjoyed being a councillor and it’s been fun but it’s proved to be too difficult to juggle my work committments with my duties as a councillor – but I would do it again.”
His departure from public life now leaves a question mark over the future of the popular annual Mardi Gras event in the Town Centre which he co-founded and helped organise but the Leader Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrats Cllr Keith House said:
“Town Centre events remain very much on the Council’s priority list and the efforts that Keith and others with Chris Thomas and Paul Bicknell will stand the test of time.
“Keith Trenchard made a solid contribution to the town team but we recognise getting his new business up and running must come first.”