Mark Ashford has left his position as Witham Town manager.

Having guided the Spa Road club to Bostik League division north safety on the closing day of the campaign, Ashford has taken the decision to step away after one season at the helm.

He said it was a tough decision to make and insisted that he would be parting on good terms, but he felt the playing budget he had been asked to work with next season would not allow him to meet the objectives that he had set for himself.

Ashford took over as Witham boss last summer following the departure of Adam Flint to Bishop's Stortford and realised from the start that he would be working with a budget that had been heavily reduced from the previous season.

Within that tight budget, Ashford was given the objectives of maintaining the club's division north status while developing young players and improving the disciplinary record - all of which were delivered.

While he was happy to work within the constraints of tight purse strings last year, though, Ashford felt he would be unable to fulfil his own ambition of moving the team forward next season if the budget stayed low.

And with the club saying that would be the case, he felt the time was right to part ways.

Ashford said: "I said to the club when I came in that I wanted to take the team forward every season but I just don't feel I'm able to do that on the budget that I'd been presented with for next year.

"I'm sad about it but I feel I'm leaving on good terms because I'm leaving for the right reasons.

"I wanted to leave with integrity and I think I'm doing the best thing for the club as, by making this decision now, I'm giving them time to move forward and make a new appointment ahead of pre-season.

"I wish the club and whoever it is taking them forward all the best.

"I'd also like to make it clear that I'm not leaving to take up another position and there is nothing out there for me at the moment.

"I have spoken to nobody."

As a UEFA A licensed coach, Ashford introduced key aspects to team preparations with elements such as using specified training areas where he felt could coach effectively and by using performance analysis technology to develop players.

However, he felt he would not be able to continue having those things within the budget he had been given alongside rebuilding the side this summer and felt that would compromise his ability to take the team forward.

He added: "I was hoping that we would have the one year at the budget we had and it would then rise back close to where it was before.

"Then I could bring in players that I felt I needed to keep things moving forward.

"We were a competitive team throughout the whole of last season, but I just didn't feel I could keep things moving forward with that smaller budget again."

But, despite his departure from Witham, Ashford has nothing but praise for the club and is fully understanding of their stance over the budget.

"It is always sad to leave a club," he said.

"It is a good community club and there are some really lovely people there who give their time up for it.

"I've so much time for (chairman) Mark Nicholls as he is an honest man with a lot of integrity.

"He doesn't like being in the public eye but I couldn't leave without recording my appreciation of him.

"He is realistic and he knows there are clubs in the Essex Senior League with bigger budgets than Witham, but Mark has to do what he feels is best for Witham and I'm 100 per cent behind that.

"Clubs really should not spend what they haven't got.

"Witham are a club that are pragmatic but at this moment in time it is not for me.

"I 'd like to think that I'm the right man and this is the right club, but it's just the wrong time for us both."

Chairman Mark Nicholls had nothing but praise for the work the Ashford had done and was "gutted" to see him depart.

"Mark really is leaving on good terms," said Nicholls.

"He deserves to go to another club that has the money to match what he wants to achieve. "He has been very good for our club with what he has done.

"We set him three tasks - to keep us up, to work within a limited budget that was the lowest the club has ever had and to improve our disciplinary record.

"He delivered on all three.

"We stayed up, he actually came in under budget and our disciplinary record put us 12th in the league table.

"So we have nothing but praise for what Mark did, but we just can't match what he wanted for next year and I'm gutted to see him go.

"I'm frustrated that he is leaving, but we wish him well and we'll all move on.

"He has left on good terms and we can only do what we can do as a club, but I do feel gutted."

Nicholls said the club would start advertising for a new manager from the start of next week and expected to be carrying out interviews for applicants from the start of June.