NIKKI Barton – Haslemere’s Independent county councillor over the past four years – has confirmed she is standing down and is not seeking ree-elction to Surrey County Council in next month’s elections.

Mrs Barton told The Herald this week: “Over the past four years, I have focused on serving Haslemere as an Independent county councillor on the basis of openness and transparency, regularly sharing my initiatives and actions on

“While looking forward to the possibility of standing again in the future, my priorities through to 2021 are in other professional and personal areas.

“I shall remain active in the local community, finding other ways to serve than representing the town at county level. I hope my record shows anyone can contribute in meaningful ways as an Independent within the corridors of local government.”

Five candidates representing all the mainstream parties will now fight it out for Mrs Barton’s seat at Kingston.