A man who has represented an East Hampshire village at parish and regional level has passed over his gavel after two decades of public service.

Doug Jones has stepped down as the member for East Hampshire on the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

Mr Jones had to give up his place having recently called time on his 20-year tenure with Buriton Parish Council.

But after more than a decade with the SDNPA and two separate roles as chair, he’s proud of his work and the impact he’s made on an authority which spans three counties.

“It’s been a great privilege to be member of the SDNPA, almost from its very beginnings,” said Doug, who joined the authority in 2011.

“It can take up quite a lot of one’s time, but it can be fascinating and rewarding. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend about six years on each of the Authority’s man committees and it’s been an honour to have been selected by colleagues to be chair of both over the years.”

Mr Jones - who chaired both the Planning and Policy & Resources Committee during his 12 years – also feels he’s made a valuable contribution to the Park’s first Local Plan and numerous innovative projects and initiatives. He’s also chaired the Sustainable Communities Panel which has awarded small grants to organisations across the Park.

While the decision to retire was a difficult one to make, he is looking forward to spend time doing other things and is confident his East Meon successor Steve Ridgeon will do a great job as his replacement.

“The SDNPA isn’t a large organisation but it has always had some very committed, efficient and effective people working for it,” he added.

“They deserve a lot of credit and thanks. I’ve always tried to make positive contributions throughout my time and hopefully it can continue to make a valuable difference over the years ahead.”