THE man who has been dubbed ‘Mr Midhurst’ has decided it’s time to quit the town council after 29 years of service.
Colin Hughes joined the council in 1986 and was chairman from 1995-2009.
It marked the end of an era when he announced he is to retire from the town council in May and will not be seeking re-election.
“I have served for a long time and it is time for new people and fresh ideas,” he told the Observer.
He said at one of his early meetings as chairman, he and fellow councillors had set out what they wanted to achieve to make Midhurst a flourishing and prosperous place and bring people into the town.
“We wanted to refurbish the Market Square and to resurrect the Cowdray Ruins.
I have served for a long time and it is time for new people and fresh ideas
“We wanted a new youth club and we identified other things like the need to develop a new community centre.
“We wanted to be in the new South Downs National Park and we wanted the new school built in Midhurst. It’s taken a long time, but all these things have now come into place.”
Over two decades, Mr Hughes was the driving force behind all the projects which came to life.
“I was lucky enough to have people with many different skills and was able to organise them into teams to achieve our ambitions. I have always been lucky enough to work with really good teams of people who wanted to get things done.”
Mr Hughes will continue to be highly active as treasurer of Rother Valley Together, the day-care activities group for elderly people which he was instrumental in setting up when West Sussex County Council axed its day care centre.
He is chairman of the Midhurst Youth Club Trust which runs the new £700,000 youth centre Mr Hughes persuaded the county council to build.
The trust has also just bought the Stedham campsite for use by young people and he also leads Duke of Edinburgh awards activities in the town involving some 60 youngsters.
His advice to the new council which will convene after the election in May was to come up with a new plan.
“The council needs to look at where it is and what it thinks it needs to provide to continue to help Midhurst flourish. Councillors need to have clear targets and objectives which they can move towards achieving and one of the first priorities will be to make a success of the library for the community.”