A senior Watford politician and former chairman is standing down after almost 20 years on the council.

Councillor Alan Burtenshaw, who was first elected in 1994, is stepping down from his Woodside seat with immediate effect.

The Liberal Democrat councillor and vice chairman of the audit committee is understood to be permanently relocating to the New Forest.

Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill paid tribute to him, saying: "Alan has been a councillor for a long time and he is entitled to choose his time to go.

"He has been a stalwart who was never afraid to speak his mind, particularly on the issue of phone masts and, true to his word, has never owned a mobile phone."

Councillor Burtenshaw’s departure will trigger a by-election timed to coincide with the Hertfordshire County Council elections on May 2.