A councillor who served his ward from northern Switzerland has called time on his stint in office.

The year after Ryan Sparrowhawk was elected to Buckhurst Hill Parish Council in 2015 with a commanding 64 per cent majority, he was a regular at full meetings and establishment committees.

Following May 2016 however, he attended just three meetings - the last on May 25, 2017 - choosing instead to work as a teaching assistant in northern Switzerland, citing family circumstance as the reason behind the move.

Amidst consternation from fellow councillors Mr Sparrowhawk returned to Buckhurst Hill in March 2018, serving as an indepedent after his Conservative Party membership was allowed to lapse on the advice of a fellow councillor.

Now, 11 months on from his return, he has decided to step down from the council.

He explained: "I asked the clerk when would be the most convenient time for me to stand down and was told yesterday. I am sad to go but it is the right thing to do.

"I have had 100 per cent attendance record since I came back."

The former councillor explained his reasons for moving on were based on the challenging housing market in the area.

Mr Sparrowhawk continued: "I can't afford to buy a house in Buckhurst Hill and I can't live with my parents for the rest of my life. I am looking to start a family at some point in the future.

"We are in the fortunate position to buy a house, but further into Essex. We couldn't afford Buckhurst Hill.

"I have been working since I was 18 and have been saving up, but it is not too easy to buy. I am sad to move away but I just can't afford to live here."

As for the future of the parish council, Mr Sparrowhawk backed district councillor Aniket Patel.

He said: "Since Aniket stepped down the council really hasn't done much that has been worthwhile. I would love him to replace me.

"It was a damn shame he was not elected three years ago."

To run for Mr Sparrowhawk's former seat click here.