A LONG-SERVING county councillor has resigned sparking a by-election.

Colin Davidovitz, who has been a Conservative councillor for Chandler’s Ford for the last 14 years, has stepped down from the post, saying it had been a privilege to serve but ongoing health issues had prompted his decision.

The 85-year-old, of Chandler’s Ford, was first elected in 2001 and subsequently re-elected – the last time in 2013, with 39 per cent of the vote.

Cllr Davidovitz, who took up a role in politics in 1996 after retiring from a career in broadcasting, served as a county council cabinet member for communications and efficiency from 2005 until 2013 and also served as an Eastleigh borough councillor for Hiltingbury West from 1996 to 2009.

He was also Hampshire County Council’s chairman last year, presiding over county council and representing the council on royal visits and ceremonial occasions in Hampshire.

Candidates standing for the seat are James Duguid, for the Liberal Democrats, John Edwards for the UK Independence Party, Judith Grajewski for the Conservatives and Sarah Smith for Labour.

Polling will take place on October 22.

Cllr Davidovitz told the Daily Echo at the age of 85 and health problems which had affected his mobility this had “forced me to take the difficult decision to retire to enable someone younger and healthier than I to provide my residents with the service they deserve and I am no longer able to provide for them in the way that I would wish”.

In a letter sent to Chandler’s Ford residents to announce his decision he added: “It has been both an honour and a privilege to have served you as your councillor on the county council for the last 14 years.”

Cllr Ken Thornber, former leader of the council for 14 years, said: “He is a man of considerable sensitivity and humanity and within my cabinet I could not have asked for a more loyal friend.

“I could always look to him for words of wisdom.

“He was very dedicated and committed to helping his constituents and he would always go the last mile and he worked tirelessly for them.”

Current leader Roy Perry said: “It is a testament to his commitment to Chandlers Ford that he felt he should stand down to allow someone in full health to represent the division.

“In Colin, the people of Hampshire had a great and wise councillor.”

Chandler’s Ford residents who have not registered to vote will need to do so by midnight tomorrow.