VETERAN Tenbury councillor Tony Penn has resigned from Malvern Hills District Council.

Mr Penn, aged 87, made the shock announcement this morning.

“As a veteran of Malvern Hills District Council, I have decided to call it a day,” said Mr Penn.

“I am resigning on Monday, July 5, with immediate effect, after over 14 years of service.

“In my 88th year, I feel it is time for someone younger to take on the job as I want to spend more time with my wife, family and friends.

“I am very proud of all my achievements as one of the two Malvern Hills District Council ward members for Tenbury.

“It has not all been plain sailing. I have found my additional role as Heritage Champion frustrating.

“Being a councillor is a big responsibility. I wish whoever follows me every success in resolving the many challenges which face Tenbury and the surrounding area.”

Mr Penn was born in Coventry and as a boy was in the city on the night of the November 14, 1940 German bombing.

He worked as an architect in Birmingham before moving to Tenbury.

During his time on Malvern Hills District Council, Mr Penn has been chairman of planning and at the time of his resignation had a special role as ‘heritage champion’ for the district.

During his years of service, Mr Penn was involved in many issues and at times found himself caught up in controversy.

During the long drawn out debate about the decision of Tesco to come to the town Mr Penn was a strong supporter of the supermarket.

It was a row that split the town down the middle and put himself in a different camp to the other Tenbury District councillor at the time, Phil Groves.

Mr Penn has been a strong advocate of people getting a vaccination against Covid-19, having said last year that he thought that in many ways the pandemic was worse for people than the second-world-war, saying that at least in the war people could go for a drink and give each other a hug.

But he has been very critical of the level of support from the Government, especially for the hospitality sector, saying that it has been inadequate.

He sees tourism as vital to the future of the town and has been concerned to try to make sure that the flood defence scheme being designed by the Environment Agency does not damage the character of Tenbury.

Mr Penn and his wife are active members of the church and the community in St Michael’s, where they live.

They have family in the area and also in London and are currently helping their daughter and son in law to open a new business in Tenbury.

“I will still be active and there is plenty to keep me busy,” said Mr Penn.