The leader of Hampshire County Council has announced he is standing down after two years in the authority’s hotseat.

Cllr Rob Humby made the announcement “with deep regret” with his replacement being chosen next Thursday morning at the council’s AGM (May 23).

Cllr Humby, who has represented Bishop’s Waltham on HCC since 2013, also intends to retire from local politics before the 2025 county council elections with a view to spending more time with his family, children and grandchildren.

The former cabinet member and deputy leader has been “immensely proud” of his work but appears to have become frustrated with ever-decreasing government funding and the strain that funding issues are putting on local authorities like HCC.

Funding for some HCC services has been slashed “to the bare bones” while the authority is set to make £138million in cuts to 13 services ranging from libraries and recycling centres to social care and subsidised public transport. 

Cllr Humby said: “I am a staunch champion of the work of local councils which is so integral to the sustainability, health, and prosperity of local communities up and down the country. 

“But local government nationally is facing possibly its most challenging period ever. 

“For many years I have lobbied hard for the vital changes needed to the way councils are funded by central Government. I have helped draw the national spotlight to the plight of local government and raise greater awareness of the need for a fairer funding model for our sector. 

“Yet the deep-rooted change that local government so desperately needs is still such a long way off.”

He added: “In Hampshire, we are approaching a period of crucial decision-making this summer which will set a course for the Authority to help address major funding issues after 2025/26.

“It is therefore right my successor has the necessary time and capacity to carefully consider how best to shape the delivery of local services for 1.4 million residents and benefit Hampshire’s future.

“This council has a strong reputation for doing the right thing, and doing things extremely well – with the courage and tenacity to successfully overcome challenges and keep delivering some of the best local services in the country.”

Cllr Humby expressed thanks to HCC’s chief executive, Carolyn Williamson, and her teams for their “ongoing professionalism, integrity and unwavering commitment to the people of Hampshire” in the personal statement released last Monday.

He also thanked deputy leader, Cllr Roz Chadd, for her “fantastic support and hard work” along with the efforts of the HCC Cabinet and all of the authority’s councillors for their continued dedication to serving the county’s residents.

He concluded: “It has been an honour and pleasure to work alongside colleagues across Hampshire County Council.”

Cllr Humby was elected HCC leader in May 2022 following the resignation of Cllr Keith Mans. He will also give a short address to the council at the beginning of next Thursday’s AGM in the council chamber in Winchester.