A VETERAN Bournemouth town centre councillor says he is “at a loss” to understand why he has not been chosen by his party to stand again at the next council elections.

David Smith, who has represented the central ward for more than 25 years, is one of several high-profile Conservative councillors to be de-selected as a candidate for the new conurbation unitary council.

Hazel Allen, who stood as a Conservative candidate in the Throop and Muscliff by-election in January and lost to Independent councillor Kieron Wilson, has been chosen to contest the central Bournemouth seat.

Cllr Mike Greene, who currently represents the ward, has been re-selected.

There are around 50 fewer seats on the single Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole authority than on the existing three councils. The number of seats in each ward is going down from three to two.

Cllr Smith, who is cabinet portfolio holder for planning and environment, told the Daily Echo he was “very disappointed” his local Conservative branch had not re-selected him.

“Having represented the very busy central ward for over 25 years, and helped hundreds of residents and businesses during that period, I am at a loss as to know why I am ‘not now good enough’.

“There are many challenging issues which need to be addressed in the near future, and I wish all the best to my successor.

“I have met many kind people over the years, and I would like to thank them all for the help and kindness many of them have shown me.”

He added: “I am still in post until next May and will continue to help and support any residents and businesses with any issues they may have during that period.”

Other Conservative councillors who have been dropped by the Conservative party include Cllr Mark Battistini and Cllr Amadeo Angelini, who represent Kinson.

In Poole, former leader of Poole, Cllr Elaine Atkinson, and past mayor, Cllr Xena Dion have both been de-selected for Penn Hill.