BOROUGH of Poole (BOP) councillor Jo Tomlin has resigned from her post on health grounds, after just 16 months' service.

The Broadstone ward councillor made the decision to step down because she is scheduled to undergo a routine abdominal procedure later this year and has been advised to avoid stress in the run up to the surgery.

Conservative Cllr Tomlin, who is also a governor for Winchelsea School and board member of Poole Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: "Being a councillor is a very stressful occupation for many reasons and I have not taken this decision lightly but due to my ill health issues and the need to spend more time with my husband and family I can no longer act as fully required on behalf of my residents.

"It is unfair on all those who rely on me to continue further."

The councillor's decision means a by-election will likely take place within the next couple of months.

Cllr Tomlin, who is married with three children, said: "I am deeply saddened to find myself in this position. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as ward councillor for Broadstone and representing my residents over many issues and concerns."

Paying tribute to Cllr Tomlin, BOP leader Cllr Janet Walton, said: "In her short time as a councillor Joanne represented the residents of her ward well and made a valuable contribution to the council.

"I fully understand the reasons for her decision to stand down but will be sad to see her go and wish her all the best for the future."

Meanwhile, fellow BOP councillor Judy Butt, who represents the Creekmoor ward, said: "Jo is making the right decision for all the right reasons. Her health and her family must come first.

"Service as a councillor is a very demanding role and I support Jo's decision. It is a great shame to lose such a promising young councillor with such an excellent skill set regarding her background and local business knowledge.

"All councils are much in need of constant new blood to refresh and innovate, she will be much missed."