VETERAN councillor Donnie Mackay has resigned from the Highland Council administration and intends to join the opposition Conservative group.
He has cited the proposed roll-out of car park charges to more towns and toilet closures for his decision.
Councillor Mackay (74) has served his Caithness community for 16 years. He is currently vice chairman of the council’s north planning committee.
Confirming his reasons, he said he had given independent colleagues notice that he will leave the group on Friday.
Conservative group leader Andrew Jarvie said he was “delighted” by the decision to seek membership of his group.
It will not alter the balance of power at Glenurquhart Road but will strengthen Tory group representation on committees and at the local government organisation Cosla.
If accepted by the Tories, the council balance will be 27 independent, 19 SNP, 11 Conservative, 10 Liberal Democrat, three Labour, two non-aligned, one Sutherland Independent Group and one Green.
Council leader Margaret Davidson said: "I'm sorry to see Donnie leave the group and have told him so. I have wished him well."