A parish councillor who served since the authority's inception has stepped down.

On March 7 former leader of Chigwell Parish Council John Knapman called it a day after more than 20 years of service.

In December 2017 the 68-year-old, who also held the Chigwell Village seat on Epping Forest District Council, underwent a triple heart bypass.

Despite recovering well, he signalled he would be reigning in his political responsibilities, having moved to a smaller house an hour and a half away in Long Millford, Suffolk to be closer to his grandchildren.

Darshan Sunger, chairman of the council, said: "John has been a pillar of support for the community and he will be sorely missed.

"He has given a lot of his time and expertise to the council and we wish him well for his future endeavours.

"I want to thank him for all the work that he has done for Chigwell."

While widely respected by fellow councillors, questions were raised about Mr Knapman's conduct last year when it came to light his daughter's company had been employed by the council.

From 2007 Frances Foster's company Paul Foster Gardening Service was contracted by the authority, earning £4,052 a month for 11 years.

An investigation was launched when the relationship, which Mr Knapman had not declared, came to light.

Led by vice-chairman Richard Alvin, the investigation exonerated him of any wrong doing.

If ten constituents call for a by-election one will be held to fill Mr Knapman's seat this year.

If there is not the demand the seat remain vacant until next year's elections.

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