FORMER leader of Craven District Council, Cllr Chris Knowles-Fitton has resigned from the council.

Cllr Knowles-Fitton (Cons) was first elected as Barden Fell representative in 2000 and took over as council leader six months later.

He stood down as leader in October last year, following his move to Devon, and was replaced by deputy leader, Cllr Richard Foster.

His resignation, a year before his term on the council would have come to an end, will trigger a by-election in Barden Fell.

Craven District Council returning officer Paul Shevlin said: “I will be publishing a notice of a casual vacancy for the Barden Fell ward and if I receive a request for an election signed by two electors by Tuesday (March 31), a by-election will be held alongside Parliamentary, District and Parish elections on May 7.”

By-elections will also be held on May 7, if requested, for the Settle and Ribblebanks Ward and Upper Wharfedale wards following the deaths of Councillors Donald Whaites and John Roberts. In all three cases the councillors elected in a by-election will serve until next year's ordinary elections.