A CONTROVERSIAL city councillor has resigned.

Kim Gottlieb has stepped down from his role on Winchester City Council.

In an email seen by the Chronicle, he said to leader Cllr Lucille Thompson he wished to resign with immediate effect.

It reads: "I’ve been looking over my shoulder at the last sixteen months, and the eight years before that, and see this as an opportune moment to step down as a city councillor.

"I may expand upon my reasoning in due course but, for now, I would like to thank all those of our colleagues who have made this an enjoyable and interesting experience, and to the group I would say goodbye and good luck."

This evening Mr Gottlieb told the Chronicle: "It has been a great privilege to be a city councillor and to represent the wonderful people of St Michael.  I am indebted to them for their kindness and support.

"There are several reasons why I resigned not least because family and health must take precedence.  I also felt that I was not getting the opportunity to progress the major developments in the city, which is the chief reason I gave family and voters for wanting to stand for election last year.  Having considered things carefully, I now think that I might be able to make a more effective contribution to this wonderful city from without the Council rather than from within."

Leader of the city council Lucille Thompson said: “The resignation of Kim Gottlieb from the Council surprised us all.  

WI would like to thank him for all his work over the years for the communities he has represented and in particular, the contribution he made within the Liberal Democrat Group.  I wish him well for the future.”

Mr Gottlieb was first elected to the council in 2011 as a Conservative.

Using his own finances, he took the then-Conservative-controlled city council to the High Court over Silver Hill.

This found the council had acted unlawfully over the procurement of the £150 million scheme. The scheme collpased and has not yet been successfuly revived.

In 2016, Mr Gottlieb was removed from the Central Winchester Regeneration Group following complaints from senior city council officers and the outgoing chief executive Simon Eden.

However these complaints were not upheld.

Mr Gottlieb left the Tories in 2018 and sat as an independent before he joined the Lib Dems and last year won the St Michael's ward in the city centre.

Last year he was criticised for trying to sell St Clements Surgery to the city council for around £350,000 more than he had paid for it in 2017 – despite saying he had "no profit motive".

He said that he still stood to lose out financially.