A Conservative councillor is to stand down after 39 years at the next election.

Peter Goody, of Snaresbrook Ward, was first elected to Redbridge Council in 1975.

He was deputy leader of the Tory group from May 1996 to May 2000 and deputy leader of the council from March 1999 to May 2000.

He was praised by council colleagues at an an Area One Committee meeting this week.

Councillor Alex Wilson, of Wanstead ward, who is also standing down after five years due to career demands, said that he learned a lot from Mr Goody.

He added: “I didn’t always agree with what he had to say, but I would always wait to hear his opinion on a plan before making my final decision.

“His knowledge of planning matters was so intense.”

Resident Dr Richard Cooper said: “I would like to thank Peter Goody for the service that he has given to the community.

“He is one of the few people who has served this community as a whole, no matter their political views.

“Peter could challenge any interpretation with authority and clarity.”

Mr Goody was suspended after being accused of indecent exposure while cutting his garden hedge in 2010.

He was cleared of the charge in court the following year.

Councillor Chris Cummins said Mr Goody has always believed in doing the right thing for the community.

He said: “Peter was always even handed with people, regardless of their political allegiance.

"He came to council for the right reasons, it was something he believed in.

“He fought to get Evergreen Field changed to a green open space back in 1998 and he was an expert on planning.”

Today, Councillor Suzanne Nolan confirmed Mr Goody will be stepping down so he can spend time with his wife and children.

Ms Nolan described his decision as a “great loss” to the council, adding he will be missed by many.