One of Croydon Council's leading officers is quitting his post in the borough for a top job at Tower Hamlets.

Steve Halsey's new role will put in him in the heart of plans for the 2012 Olympics as well as placing him closer to his east London home.

Having worked for Hounslow, Camden and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Croydon's director of environment, culture and public protection came south of the Thames in 2000.

Since then he has supervised the introduction of several major leisure projects, including the opening of Thornton Heath leisure centre and the new library and community centre in Selsdon.

He also helped draw up plans for new pools at New Addington and Waddon as well as the controversial re-opening of South Norwood pool.

Mr Halsey's name has also been associated with Croydon's improving recycling record as well as the management of the council's on and off-street parking operation.

Council leader Mike Fisher said: "He certainly leaves Croydon with much better leisure facilities and the prospect of many more improvements to come. He has overseen a number of important contracts. He goes with our very best wishes."