TONY Williams, probably the last chief executive of Bournemouth council, died aged 56, a year after leaving the job.

He was made redundant from the post with a package worth £390,000, amid suggestions that he had clashed with the leader of the council.

The planned shake-up of local government means the town is unlikely to have its own chief executive again.

Tony Williams came to Bournemouth in 2007 to become the council’s director for environment and economy, taking over as chief executive in 2012.

He said at the time: “Working in local government is about making a difference, improving people’s lives and working with residents and businesses to create a better and sustainable future.

“Local government affects everyone’s life and it’s this sense of contributing to an improving environment and community that makes local government such a great place to work. In terms of this job, it’s also got the bonus of working in the UK’s top seaside resort.

“Working in seaside resorts means that change, reinvention and customer care are natural occurrences and it’s a real challenge – and stimulus – to be part of this process.”

He said his aspiration was “to enhance Bournemouth’s position as the UK’s premier resort and to make it a place local residents can be proud of”.

Born in South Wales, Tony Williams had a degree in geography from Bristol University and an MSc in planning from Cardiff.

His first job was as assistant planner with West Yorkshire County Council, after which he was economic research officer at Kirklees Metropolitan Council.

He became Kirklees’ head of European and research team before spending more than three years with Coopers & Lybrand as a management consultant on regeneration and grant funding.

He returned to local government to become head of policy and performance at Barnsley Borough Council, head of corporate policy at Blackpool and director of corporate service at East Lindsey District Council.

His time at Bournemouth council coincided with the launch of the town’s air festival, the development of the Town Centre Vision policy and the creation of the Bournemouth Development Company, a partnership between public and private sectors to develop key sites in the town.

He also oversaw improvements to Boscombe seafront, but the accompanying £3million artificial surf reef never worked as promised and the company which built it went out of business.

Mr Williams was in charge for the launch of a new household recycling service, the building of Kinson Hub and the development of the Slades Farm Cycle Track.

The council also began building houses again, in a programme which is still going on.

In recent times, Mr Williams was one of the council bosses spearheading the Future Dorset plans to replace Dorset’s nine principal local authorities with two new ones.

But in March last year, it emerged that he had been suddenly made redundant, shortly after returning to work following four months’ sick leave.

Christchurch MP Sir Chris Chope alleged in parliament that Mr Williams had been intending to investigate a potential conflict of interest in the affairs of council leader John Beesley.

After leaving Bournemouth, Mr Williams moved to Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He died just a month after being diagnosed with liver cancer, leaving wife Lynne and son Adam.

Bournemouth council said it was “very sad” to learn of his death and said its thoughts were with his family.