A long-serving councillor has confirmed he will not run for re-election next year.

John O’Reilly-Cicconi is now also standing as an independent, having left the Braintree Conservative group.

The Gosfield and Greenstead Green representative, who has served as a councillor since 1999 apart from a brief gap, cited his age as a reason behind the decision.

His decision comes after he stepped down from the council’s local plan committee last year claiming he could not continue with the “means justifies the end” approach to planning Mr O’Reilly-Cicconi said: “I am more comfortable standing as an independent than as a Conservative.

“I agree with the general trend of Conservative politics, but not a lot on its planning, which is what interests me.

“I removed myself from the local plan sub committee because I didn’t like what they were doing.

“I am getting tired in my advancing years and I think there are better things to do with my life.”

Mr O’Reilly-Cicconi said he made his decision about a month ago and feels he cannot stand without a committee to work on.

Although still being with the Conservative party itself, he is no longer part of the Braintree group.

Mr O’Reilly-Cicconi added: “All the Conservatives had to undergo an interview selection process this time around, as instructed by the central office.

“I was sent something saying hurry up and come to the selection process essentially, so I emailed back and said would I be offered a job.

“I didn’t get an answer so I didn’t go, there’s not much point in going for a job you won’t get.”