A COUNCIL by-election has been triggered after a York councillor quit due to ill health.

Roger Pierce, who has represented Labour in the Hull Road ward since May 2007, announced he was standing down with immediate effect after deciding he could not continue in the role until next year’s local elections.

The timing of his decision means a by-election will be held later this year to elect a replacement, although the date of the poll has yet to be confirmed.

Dr Pierce, a former University of York academic, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a Labour councillor for the Hull Road ward, but unfortunately I’m unable to continue until the May 2011 elections. I want to thank local people for electing me, and those who have worked with me over the past few years. I feel I have given it my all, achieving many successes, but current circumstances mean I’m not able to continue in the role without giving it 100 per cent.”

In his resignation letter to the council’s chief executive, Kersten England, Dr Pierce said his responsibilities had left him “exhausted and in poor health”.

He singled out the “top-down imposition” of the Capable Guardians scheme, which provides communities with advice and reassurance about anti-social behaviour, as “the final straw”, but highlighted his weekly ward inspections with volunteers and environment officers as one of his favourite parts of the role.

Dr Pierce now plans to concentrate on his research into the career of controversial former council leader Rod Hills.

Labour group leader Coun James Alexander said: “Roger has been a significant member of the group in terms of his ideas and has always involved himself heavily in debates on policy.

“His work ethic has been second to none and I sympathise with him when he says he cannot keep things going at that level.

“This must have been a very difficult decision as I know how much representing the residents of Hull Road ward means to Roger.

“He has been instrumental in developing Labour’s policies on academies and free schools and I thank him sincerely for his contribution.”

He said Labour will select its by-election candidate “in the coming fortnight”.