THIRTY-ONE councillors are set to retire across the county this year after choosing not to stand for the forthcoming district elections on May 3. South Bucks District Council will lose the most with 12 coun-cillors stepping down, Chiltern District Council loses ten, and Wycombe District Council says goodbye to nine.

Those leaving Wycombe include former town mayor, Cllr Liaquat Ali (Lab, Disraeli), cabinet member for transport, Cllr Peter Cartwright (Con, Ryemead), Cllr Anne Stenner (Lab, Booker & Cressex), and longserving Cllr Clare Martens (Lab, Micklefield). A total of six Conservatives will leave alongside three Labour councillors.

Meanwhile Chiltern loses current council leader Cllr Tom Dodd (Con, Gold Hill), chairman Cllr Jeremy Banham (Con, Central), and its longest servant Cllr Bernard Curson (Con, Chalfont St Giles).

Cllr Curson, 76, of Palliser Road, Chalfont St Giles, has served on the council since it was founded in 1974 and even served on the former Amersham Rural District Council in 1970.

He said: "It was because of age really. I will be 77 next birthday and I think it is time to go. I've enjoyed it very much so - more so in the past than I do now.

"Local government has changed."

Those leaving Chiltern have 168 years of experience between them, with nine conservatives and one Liberal Democrat choosing to retire.

Meanwhile, nine Conservative councillors are leaving South Bucks alongside three independents.

Cllr Dr Barry Scott and Cllr Pat Fea (both Con, Gerrards Cross North), will step down, but their seat will go uncontested at the election and remain Tory.

Cllr Dr Scott, 87, of Vicarage Way, Gerrards Cross, has served for 12 years. He said: "I am a great believer in people not hanging around for too long. We want new people coming in with a new approach and I have been here for 12 years."

One surprise departure on South Bucks will be Cllr Simon Nicholls (Con, Beaconsfield North), who has served on the council for just two years.

The longest serving retiree is Cllr Lionel Rigby (Ind, Stoke Poges) who has been on the council since 1973.