THE resignation of a Liberal Democrat councillor will spark a by-election for her seat.

Karen Chaplin announced her resignation from Colchester Council with immediate effect citing personal family matters.

The Shrub End councillor has served the ward since 2016, working alongside Lyn Barton.

She said: “I’ve been honoured to serve as a councillor and would like to thank the people of Shrub End who have given me the opportunity to represent them over the past one-and-a-half years.

“I’ve particularly liked working with Iceni Academy and the many volunteers in the community and in particular, the Litter Warriors campaign.”

Until two electors from Shrub End request a by-election, one cannot be called, but council leader Paul Smith (Lib Dems) said one will take place.

He added: “What’s happened is unfortunate but Karen wasn’t prepared to see the people of Shrub End suffer.”

The position will be publicised on Monday and should a by-election be called, it must be actioned within 35 days.

Confident Labour leader Tim Young is optimistic about his party’s chances of securing the vacant seat.

He said: “We have Dave Harris as a county councillor covering Shrub End so we’ll be going all out to win it.”

The Conservative party has confirmed it will be put up a second candidate to serve alongside long-standing councillor Pauline Hazell.

Dennis Willetts, the group’s leader, who served with Karen on the governance committee, added: “There are two people who will be interested in standing.

“Conservative Party rules say we have to have a formal appointment session where a member can put their name forward and go through the usual process.

“It’s a great shame when someone like Karen finds their personal life creeps up on them to the extent she has to discharge her duties.

“No-one understands just what the commitment will be as a councillor until they do it and then they appreciate the enormity of the task.”

Chairman of Colchester Liberal Democrats, Anne Turrell, wished Karen well and said any Lib Dem candidates would fight it out with the rest.

She said: “I want to thank Karen for her efforts in clearing Shrub End and chasing Essex County Council over the many failing roads in the area.

“She also campaigned for the former Alderman Blaxill School to be retained for education and community use.

“I wish her all the best for the future.”