A councillor has announced he is stepping down from his role after seven years.

Conservative councillor Ed Hopper was elected until 2020 but will be departing before the May elections this year and attending his last meetings next week.

Cllr Hopper has represented Thames ward since 2012 and been a member of several committees, including Planning Applications; Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport; and Traffic Management.

​He has moved to the Isle of Wight and said he would be attending his last meetings next week.

Cllr Hopper said: “After 20 years of living in Reading, my family and I moved away from the town a few months ago and I’ve continued to undertake my council duties since that time.

“I’m confident in my meeting attendance record and responses to requests Thames ward residents have not suffered.

“Since moving home, however, I have also changed jobs, such that I don’t work anywhere near Reading anymore, which has made attending meetings difficult and increasingly challenging.

“It’s been an absolute honour to represent the people of Thames ward. I have found almost everything about being a councillor very enjoyable and rewarding.

Cllr Hopper paid tribute to council officers, his Conservative colleagues and opposition councillors.

He praised Cllr Page for his ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the town and unique manner of dealing with angry campaigners’ and Cllr Jones for his ‘amusing approach to the rough and tumble of local politics’.

The Thames ward councillor also mentioned former councillor Ricky Duveen’s ‘calm and steadfast commitment for making the same point in every meeting he attended’.

Jeanette Skeats, fellow Thames ward councillor and leader of the Conservative group, said: “Thank you for the contribution you have made. You will be sorely missed and we wish you the best for the future.

Councillor Tony Jones added: “Despite being a Tory, we have found you to be courteous, honest and reasonable and at times quite challenging when our logic has been astray.”

He said the Conservative group had lost a potential leader.

Cllr Hopper was re-elected to represent Thames Ward in May 2016 having been first elected in 2012.

He lived in Reading for 20 years with his wife and two young daughters who both attended school in the town.

The Conservative councillor worked just a few miles outside Reading and he and his family were involved with their local church where he served on the Parochial Church Council.

In 2018, the councillor spearheaded a policy that means 15 per cent of money received from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) must be spent on projects agreed with the local community.

The levy on developers was introduced in 2010 to help local councils secure the revenue needed to handle the impact of new property developments.

Cllr Hopper's initiative was backed by RBC’s Policy Committee on February 28, 2018.