THE leader of Winchester City Council has resigned.

Conservative Cllr Rob Humby has issued a statement confirming his decision to quit as leader following decisions made over the controversial Silver Hill scheme.

It is the second dramatic resignation over the handling of the scheme after Labour's Chris Pines stepped down as chairman of Winchester City Council's overview and scrutiny committee.

In a statement, Cllr Humby said: "Over the last week, I have reflected carefully on my position as leader of the council. I have come to the conclusion that the time has now come for me to step aside.

"I stand by the decisions I and the cabinet made on Silver Hill. They were taken after consulting with officers and taking external legal advice.

"I think it is also important to remember that the majority of decisions on Silver Hill were taken long before I was leader.

"Nevertheless, I was leader when the court decision was handed down and so must take responsibility for that judgement.

"I have always sought to act in the best interests of the city. I believe it is now in the best interests of Winchester and the council for me to stand aside to allow a new leader to take matters forward.

"I hope this will allow for a new spirit of co-operation, and in particular allow the council to set a budget at its meeting on Thursday.

"I have been proud to lead the city council and wish my successor the very best."

See the Hampshire Chronicle on Thursday for the full story.