Long-serving Bexley councillor Linda Bailey has announced she is stepping down due to ill health.

Bailey has not attended a council meeting in six months meaning her seat has been declared vacant.

It will be filled at the local elections on Thursday, May 5.

Bailey first moved to Bexley in 1972 with her husband.

Her two daughters and four grandchildren were all educated in the borough and continue to live there.

Having served the borough for more than 35 years, Conservative party member Bailey was first appointed to her role in 1986 when she represented Christchurch Ward.

Bailey then served as Deputy Mayor in 1993/94 and in 1999/2000 was Bexley’s “Millennium Mayor”.

She was also a member of the council’s very first cabinet in 2001/2.

With a keen interest in development, town planning, schools and children’s services, Bailey became Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Housing in 2009, ensuring the initiative became a key priority for the borough.

Passionate about local businesses and the town centre, Bailey focused much of her time on Bexley’s growth agenda, striving to bring more businesses into the borough and create jobs for its residents.

Praising her contribution to Bexley council and hailing Bailey’s passion for the area, Council Leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE said: “Linda is passionate about making a difference to Bexley and has always been a proud champion for our residents.

“We worked together to secure jobs for local people in many places, including the Ocado and Tesco centres in the north of the borough.

"She took a close interest in the regeneration of Erith Park and Thamesmead and the development at Erith Quarry.

“She has always been a keen supporter of our town centres, working with local businesses and including the successful campaign to encourage Waitrose to open in Sidcup.

"We will miss her dedication, enthusiasm and drive on the council.”

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