The leader of South Oxfordshire District Council announced he would not contend a battle for leadership of its Conservative Party group just days after being defeated on a major housing plan.
Using the hashtag #lifegoeson, John Cotton announced on Twitter last week that he will not be submitting his name for the upcoming Tory group elections.
Mr Cotton, leader since October 2014, resigned from the position on March 14 after fellow district councillors threatened him with a motion of no confidence.
He received another big blow to his authority last week when he and fellow senior councillors were told to think again over the local plan, which serves as an outline for housebuilding until 2033.
The decision not to stand means Mr Cotton will no longer be SODC leader.
In a statement he said it had been a “huge honour” to lead the authority and he is “enormously proud” of how it has handled challenges, including the local plan – which he said had ‘people at its heart’ – and shrinking budgets.
He added: “The role has given me chance to meet so many of the fantastic people who work and volunteer in our communities and contribute so much to this special place.”
Mr Cotton, who made the decision not to run in the leadership race with “some sadness”, will remain the Berinsfield, Dorchester and Drayton St Leonard representative until “at least” next year’s election.
His announcement came just three days after he lost a crucial vote on the council’s local plan, with the majority of his party voting against him over where to build 22,000 homes.
A vote on keeping the local plan as it currently is, which includes a controversial proposal to build 3,000 homes at Chalgrove Airfield, was rejected at a full council meeting.
Of 30 councillors, 17 said the cabinet must decide on two remaining alternative options, while 10 supported the original plan and three abstained.
At a meeting, yet to be scheduled, the council must recommend removing the airfield project and replace it with another housing site or retain it and add a reserve site in case it fails independent evaluation.
Mr Cotton said the decision would delay the local plan for about a year, which he described as a “disaster”, and opens south Oxfordshire up to speculative housing developments.
Campaign group Chalgrove Shield welcomed the decision, saying members were ‘extremely pleased’ the plan has to be reconsidered.
The Conservative election takes place on April 12, with the winner formally becoming leader on April 19.