A Wrexham councillor has announced his intention to step down at the next local authority election after serving his community for 18 years.

Alan Edwards has represented New Broughton on Wrexham Council as an independent since 2004.

During his time on the local authority, he was appointed as mayor of Wrexham in 2014-15, with his wife Glenys alongside him as mayoress.

In his most recent term, he fought against plans by Glyndwr University to build 112 new houses on horse grazing land on Gatewen Road in New Broughton.

The proposals were initially refused by councillors but controversially approved by a planning inspector last year following an appeal.

Cllr Edwards has now said he will not stand at the local elections being held in May due to his personal circumstances.

In a statement issued to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said he had enjoyed representing his community.

He said: “I have had the privilege and honour to represent the people of the New Broughton, Caego and Brynteg ward for the last 18 years.

“But over the last term, due to personal circumstances and especially the last 18 months, I have found it extremely difficult to carry out my work as a councillor.

“I would like to thank those who have given me support and been very considerate through a very difficult time.

“I feel a special thank you must go to Nigel Williams (Gwenfro councillor) who has been covering a lot of my ward work, as well as his own.”

Cllr Edwards, who is part of the independent group led by current council leader Mark Pritchard, is calling for potential candidates to come forward to stand in New Broughton.

He said he hoped his successor would put local residents before party politics.

He said: “I am coming out now with this statement hoping that someone local will step forward and put themselves up for election.

“You don t need to be a member of a party to stand, indeed I have always thought party politics should not be high on any local councillor’s agenda.

“The most important thing should be what affects Wrexham county borough and your local community.

“When I was first asked to stand in 2004, I said I would do it for four years and then someone else could do it.

“But an old friend said to me when I was elected: ‘I know you and it will get into your blood’. He was right.”

Cllr Edwards said he had witnessed a number of changes in politics during his time on the local authority.

However, he expressed concerns over the impact of social media on democracy.

He said: “Times have changed vastly over the last 18 years and now social media is a massive part of politics, and in my opinion not for the better.

“Perhaps it is time for someone younger to step up to the challenge of being a councillor.

“I would like to thank all my family and friends for their support over the years and once more thank the people for the honour of letting me represent them over the past 18 years.”