A RIBBLE Valley councillor who helped create the borough’s new Progressive Liberal group has moved to Scotland.

Stewart Fletcher has moved to a home near Stornoway on the island of Lewis. His wife, Kerry,  has started a new islands hospital job.

Until recently he was both a Clitheroe borough and town councillor. He left the borough’s Lib Dems group in November 2023 with others to create the new Progressive Liberals. And they later announced a new formal grouping with Green councillors.

Kerry Fletcher was also a councillor. But she is a nurse by profession and specialises in ultrasound scans. Her new job takes her to various Hebridean islands.

His resignation as a councillor will create a vacancy at Ribble Valley Council, meaning a by-election is expected.

Borough Tory leader Cllr Steven Atkinson paid tribute to Mr Fletcher and asked the borough’s chief executive to send a letter of thanks.

Mr Fletcher said his key achievements were forging closer links with the Greens and Labour and winning a council Living Wage vote.

His frustrations include opposition to solar panels proposals on council buildings and when Independents and Lib-Dems have supported the ruling Conservatives in votes.

Mr Fletcher outlined how he had created the Progressive Liberals after the 2023 elections as he did not feel the Lib Dems should be supporting a Conservative administration.

He added: "I feel I’ve done my bit. Ribble Valley politics is in a new place and there are other good councillors to take things forward. 

"The Progressive Liberal and Green project has started and I think it’s got legs. Hopefully it will keep developing and going forward, just without me."

Mr Fletcher has disagreed with remaining Ribble Valley Lib Dems, who recently supported the Conservative budget for 2024-25. He said they could have abstained.

But Lib-Dems said budget details, such as funds for Clitheroe Castle, were key elements in winning their support and important for the area’s tourism and economy.

Now on Lewis, Mr Fletcher has wished "everyone in the Ribble V alley well" and hopes to keep a few animals and grow some vegetables. He is also interested in crofting.

He said: “I’ll be aged 51 at my next birthday, I’ve never lived in a house with a grass garden. Now in Scotland I’ve got a garden measuring three quarters of an acre. And there are strips of crofting land running down to the sea.

“I’m going to start with some chickens. The guy next door has some sheep and pigs. I’d also like to grow some vegetables. And I’m also obsessed with bees. That’s my next ludicrous project.”