Public transport supporters and parish councillors gathered on Friday for the launch of two new community buses.

The yellow Mercedes Sprint vehicles collectively cost £120,000 and will be used to connect Grange Hill, Lime Farm Estate, Chigwell Row and the library.

More than 100 residents assembled on Station Green to receive their free bus pass ahead of the service starting in proper on October 1.

Funded through 106 funds contributed by several developers building across the town, the diesel buses will be free to use for everyone, regardless of whether they have a pass or not.

Councillor Darshan Sunger, chairman of Chigwell Parish Council, said: "Chigwell is a big building site. We have lots and lots of developments at the moment.

"This is a way of giving something back to the residents of Chigwell who have put up with this.

"It is also making sure that residents of the parish can get around.

"This bus service has been brought about to connect the three main areas of the town.

"We are hoping that people use the bus and leave their cars behind."

The bus idea was first tabled by Cllr John Knapman, a former chairman who stepped down earlier this year due to heart surgery.

Cllr Sunger added: "This whole thing is the brainchild of John Knapman. This is his legacy.

"All credit should be given to him and a big thank you to all the parish councillors.

"I am very proud that we have this free bus service.

"I think it is the first bus service provided by a parish council that doesn't charge in the country."

As well as providing Chigwell residents with a free and convenient way to get around town, the minibus may have an affect on future developments.

Builds planned for Green Belt land have to show that they are well connected to gain permission, and the bus service may help in this regard.