YORK'S transport and planning boss has quit after 16 months in the role.

Darren Richardson, who became City of York Council's director of city and environmental services in November 2012, will take a new job with Orkney Islands Council, saying it was a family decision.

Mr Richardson's portfolio included the Lendal Bridge traffic trial, the York Central development and other major city projects. He said leaving York was "not an easy personal decision to make", saying: "The opportunity in Orkney came unexpectedly, but it does allow me and my family to bring forward what were long-term relocation plans, and therefore something I could not turn down.

"I will miss the people and organisations I have had the opportunity to work with here greatly."

Kersten England, the council's chief executive, said: "We're really disappointed - Darren's made a huge contribution to the organisation and the city during his time here.

"I will miss his energy, drive and personality, but with long-term plans to base his family in Orkney, I do understand he should take advantage of this unexpected opportunity to realise these aspirations further. I'd like to wish him and his family all the best for their new life."

Ms England said Mr Richardson would continue working with the council over the next few months to appoint an interim director and "ensure the momentum he's built continues without disruption and at pace", particulsrly on key city developments.

Mr Richardson was appointed in 2012 after Bill Woolley, the council's long-serving director of city strategy, retired. He was previously Barnsley Metropolitan Council's head of environmental services and is a qualified chartered builder and a chartered highways and transportation engineer, with his role in York also including overseeing the city's draft Local Plan development blueprint and changes to the city's waste collection service.