TRAFFORD Council leader Matt Colledge is to stand down in March.

The 39-year-old Tory group leader says he has taken the decision ‘with a heavy heart’, but it will allow him to spend more time with his family and pursue his career.

He said: “It has been an absolute privilege to have led Trafford for the past five years and I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people from all walks of life.

“However having concentrated solely on Trafford for the best part of 10 years, I feel I now must focus on restarting my career and spending more time with my young family.”

Baroness Susan Williams - who Cllr Colledge succeeded as leader of the council in 2009 - said: “Matt's contribution to Trafford has been phenomenal and he will be a hard act to follow.

“I know that he will not have taken this decision lightly and wish him and his family well for the future.”

Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady added: “Matt Colledge has been an outstanding leader of Trafford Council. As a community we have been very lucky that a young man of his ability has been willing to step aside from a successful business to devote himself to public service for so many years; he moves on leaving a legacy of which he can be very proud."

Cllr Colledge was elected to the council in 2004. He represented Timperley ward for seven years before becoming a member for Altrincham in 2010.

He was Greater Manchester’s transport chief from 2008-09. In 2009 he became leader of Trafford Council at the age of 35, the youngest in Trafford’s history.

Sources suggest that Trafford’s leadership allowance, believed to be £30,000 a year for the full-time role, may be a contributory factor to his decision to stand down.

Cllr Colledge is married to Kathryn and the couple have two children, James, aged nine, and Charlotte, 6. He previously ran a construction company working for United Utilities and constructing car showrooms, which he closed down in the mid 2000s to focus on Trafford issues.

The Conservative group is expected to pick a new leader in time to be appointed at a special council meeting in March.