A TORY councillor has stepped down from her role after 17 years. 

May Haines, who has served as the Canford Cliffs ward councillor since 2007, quit on Monday night, March 18, triggering a by-election. 

The resignation leaves fellow ward councillor John Challinor as the last-standing Conservative whose ward is entirely in Poole.  

Cllr Challinor said: “I’m sorry to see her step down; she has been a fantastic ward councillor during her time in both the Borough of Poole Council and BCP Council. 

“She has held significant cabinet roles and I have benefitted massively from her knowledge on the Canford Cliffs ward, as have all the residents here.” 

A BCP Council spokesman has confirmed the by-election will take place on May 2, coinciding with the police and crime commissioner election.

It will also coincide with other council elections nationally, including in Dorset Council's area. BCP Council will not be holding a full election, as it happened last May.

The spokesman said: “There will be a combined election on the 2 May (with PCC elections). The Notice of Election will be published on the 26 March.”

During her tenure, she initiated a street cleaning pilot in Sandbanks, helped secure funding for an extension of Canford Cliffs library and more recently campaigned against the sale of Beach Road car park. 

But in 2018, while deputy leader of Poole Council, she was investigated by police after she failed to declare an interest in a £2 million property quickly enough. 

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Haines represented Sandbanks and Canford CliffsCllr Haines represented Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs

Officers later found there was no case to answer to and Cllr Haines said as soon as she realised the problem, she “rectified it immediately”. 

It is not yet clear what has triggered Cllr Haines to step down after 17 years, having only been re-elected last May.

Penn Hill councillor Oliver Walters, a Lib Dem, said: "May is a great advocate for locals and Poole. On standards committee May was always fair and unbiased.

"I have zero knowledge as to why she resigned and will avoid speculation. I hope she's okay."

Poole Conservatives and Cllr Haines have all been approached for a comment. 

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