Two of Merton's most senior councillors have announced they will not seek re-election in May.

Neither Ross Garrod, who represents Lavender Fields ward and is the council's cabinet member for street cleanliness and parking, and Katy Neep, who represents Abbey ward and is the cabinet member for children's services, will stand in the local elections on May 3.

Council leader Stephen Alambritis praised their services. He said: “I am sorry to be losing two such amazing colleagues but massively grateful for the service they have given to our borough.

“Ross has done sterling work overseeing the transition to the South London Waste Partnership and tackling air quality issues and Katy has steered our children’s services to be in the top ten in the country, especially for safeguarding.

“Merton is a better place because of their public service.

“Although we are losing two stars I am excited by the many talented councillors and candidates who will be standing for election and re-election and will continue the great work of Katy and Ross.”