FORMER Devizes deputy mayor Albert Wooldridge has resigned from the town council after he was criticised for the way he ran a heated meeting over the future of Green Lane playing fields.

Mr Wooldridge, 76, chaired the recreation and properties committee at which members of Devizes Bowmen claimed they had not been consulted about changes to the playing fields plan which they feared would lead to safety problems for the club.

Mr Wooldridge, who is a former member of the Bowmen, criticised officers for not including the club in discussions before a revised layout, needed so bats would not be disturbed by lighting, was submitted to Wiltshire Council.

During the meeting it was discovered that the archery club would still be able to shoot safely if its area was turned to face in the opposite direction.

But leading members of the ruling Devizes Guardians were unhappy with Mr Wooldridge's outspoken comments. He said: "I felt I was being bullied. I made a decision that I could not carry on as a Guardian. I almost decided to cross the floor and become an independent but eventually decided it was best to resign.

"I am sad in some ways as I have enjoyed representing the people of Devizes. But I still have interests such as Devizes Men's Shed and the wellbeing group so I will have more time to give to these groups where my involvement is appreciated." He said he had spoken over his decision to resign with his wife Sylvia, to whom he has been married for more than 50 years, and she had told him she would back whatever he decided.

Three years ago Mr Wooldridge resigned from his role as deputy mayor over parking for the town's skatepark at Green Lane. At the time he was upset that the town council had no acted quickly enough about his concerns that drivers were parking on the narrow lane near the skatepark.

He joined Roundway Parish Council in 2008 and Devizes Town Council in 2013.

Devizes Guardian leader Nigel Carter said: "Albert has been a diligent and hardworking councillor and his resignation is regretted."

Town clerk Simon Fisher said the resignation meant there was now a casual vacancy which had been reported to Wiltshire Council. He thought it was likely that an election will be requested and this will take place no later than February 21.