INDEPENDENT candidate Mark Stephenson has been elected to represent Clacton East at County Hall following a by-election.

Clacton East division councillor Colin Sargeant resigned from his seat on Essex County Council after his mother was diagnosed with dementia and a close friend died.

The Independent member had represented Clacton East, which includes Holland-on-Sea, on the county council since winning a by-election in 2016.

Mr Stephenson also represents the St John’s ward at Tendring Council and is shadow councillor responsible for leisure and tourism.

He beat Conservative candidate Chris Amos, who is also a district councillor, by just eight votes at the election last Thursday.

Mr Stephenson will be joining the Non-Aligned Group on Essex County Council.

The authority, which has 75 councillors in total, is now made up of 53 Conservatives, eight Liberal Democrats, seven in the Non-Aligned Group, six Labour councillors and one independent.

Clacton East by-election result: Mark Stephenson (Ind) 1,231*, Chris Amos (Con) 1,223, KT King (Holland & Eastcliff Matters) 537, Callum Robertson (Lib Dems) 140, Geoff Ely (Lab) 111, Chris Southall (Green) 97.