LONGSTANDING councillor Colin Froggatt has resigned from his position as portfolio holder for children and young people’s services.

Council leader Clr Terry O’Neill announced the news today and said he ‘fully respects his decision to stand down from this role’.

It is understood Clr Froggatt resigned on Monday night after a heated executive board meeting.

The Warrington Guardian understands it centred on objections to plans for the new University Technical College on Winwick Street.

A senior Labour source said Clr Froggatt had voiced his concern about sections of a report not made public which implied opening the UTC - funding for which was agreed in January - could see another high school in the town close. 

Clr Froggatt said: "I am both pleased and flattered by the comments being made regarding my tenure as the lead member for children and young people's services.

"However it would appear that the issue I resigned over is being buried by "great praise.

"The issue was part of the executive board agenda marked confidential.

"Should the council be prepared to release the details surrounding the decision, I will be prepared to explain the reasons for my resignation."

The source added: "He must have felt strongly to resign now, so close to the election, rather than wait until May to stand down quietly."

Clr O'Neill said: “Colin has been a valuable member of the executive board.

"During his time Colin has helped drive through some key improvements to the way the council offers services for the children and young people of Warrington.”

"During his time as the portfolio holder for children and young people’s services, the fostering service was inspected by Ofsted as good and school absence rates have been halved in the area. 

“We have thanked Colin for his professionalism, hard work and commitment in this post. He has served the council and the borough excellently and we feel we are indebted to him, and we wish him well,” said Clr O’Neill.

Clr Froggatt will remain in his seat as a Labour councillor for Poulton South while Clr Hitesh Patel has been promoted to the seat for children and young people’s services until after the election in May.

Clr Froggatt is the latest high profile member of the education department to leave the Town Hall.

Kath O'Dwyer, head of children's services, announced earlier this year she was leaving to take a job with Ofsted.