A WELL-KNOWN councillor says he has "no regrets" as he prepares to call time on an eventful career at the town hall.

Shear Brow member Hussain Akhtar has served on Blackburn with Darwen council for the past 11 years.

But he will not contest his seat when it comes up for election on May 1, and the 60-year-old insisted he was happy to stand aside.

He said: "People will think there's something wrong, but there isn't.

"I am happy to be stepping down, and I am pleased with what I achieved and I did my level best."

Labour are currently in opposition in Blackburn with Darwen for the first time for 20 years, and Coun Akhtar - who joined the party in 1970 - said they "had to learn lessons and work harder" if they wanted to regain power next month from the ruling Conservative, Lib Dem and For Darwen coalition.

In 2006 Coun Akhtar suspended himself from the party after he was fined for breaching food safety regulations at his shop on Whalley Range before being readmitted to the party's ranks.

He insisted the experience had "made him stronger" and would not rule out a return to politics one day.

He added: "It was my decision to suspend myself. At the end of the day I never wanted to hinder my party. At that time I wanted to give more time to my business and family.

"The experience has made me stronger and I get more respect.

"It's difficult to say at this stage if I will come back - at the moment the answer is no.

"I will miss a lot of people, but I will still show my face in the community. I will only be semi-retired."

Coun Akhtar will make a speech at tonight's full council meeting, which will also be the last for another Labour councillor, Jim Blackburn.

The member for Shadsworth with Whitebirk has clocked up 30 years without losing his seat on the council but will stand down on May 1, aged 81.

The former housing board chairman said: "I am going to miss it, but I felt it was time to pack it up.

"I think I've done my job over the years, and I think the people on the estate are satisfied with what I've done."