After twenty years as the leader of West Suffolk Council, John Griffiths has announced his decision not to re-run for the position at the upcoming council elections.

In a statement released this morning, the conservative councillor said: "After over twenty years as Leader of the Council and as we approach the elections, I wanted personally to thank you - and your many predecessors at St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath - for your support and the many very positive and real differences we have together made for the people we serve and represent in West Suffolk.

"Being Leader has been often hard and challenging work but an honour and privilege.

"More importantly perhaps, I am immensely proud of the achievements (large and small), stability and improved services we have delivered, and continue to deliver, to improve the lives of our residents and communities."

Mr Griffiths added that, whatever the outcome of the election, he would not be seeking a further term as leader of West Suffolk Council.

The son of Eldon Griffiths, long-serving former Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, John Griffiths was first elected as a councillor in 1997 and became council leader in May 2003.

The council leader said that he always had an ethos of "not letting party politics or personal interests get in the way of doing what is right and best for our communities," saying he hoped the next leader would continue in this vein.

In his statement, Cllr Griffiths added: "The legacy we have all helped achieve is, I believe, the envy of many councils and a strong foundation to create an even more prosperous, caring and environmentally friendly future for West Suffolk."

"Finally, I want to thank you again for the contributions you have made, and the advice you have given me in this challenging but fulfilling and privileged role. I wish those who have the same honour in future every possible success."