The newly-elected mayor of Barnstaple is looking forward to doing everything he can for the town after officially taking up the post.

Councillor Ian Roome was officially handed the mayoral chains and robes on Thursday night at Barnstaple Town Council’s traditional mayor making ceremony at the guildhall.

He takes over from Cllr Julie Hunt, who has served as mayor since 2016, while Cllr Alan Rennles has officially been made deputy mayor.

Mr Roome, who last served as the mayor and council chairman from 2010 to 2012, said he wanted to do ‘everything he can’ for Barnstaple, including making the town centre more attractive to visit and helping to tackle rough sleeping.

“I’m really excited about the future for Barnstaple, and I want to use the office of mayor to do everything I can for our wonderful town,” said Mr Roome.

“Our town centre needs supporting in difficult economic times, and I think there’s a role for the town council – particularly in making it a more attractive place to visit, and making sure the retail parks across the river complement rather than compete with the traditional centre.

“We need to show support and compassion for the homeless, and we also need to balance that with the need to provide an attractive town centre for shoppers and retailers.

“I’ll be using the office of mayor to make sure we strike the right balance.”

Mr Roome has also pledged to carry on the council’s existing work, such as utilising Barnstaple Guildhall and the town’s heritage.

It also includes maintaining the town’s green areas – as well as ensuring Barnstaple becomes a plastic-free town.

“I want to use our heritage work to attract more visitors, and to bring the community closer to its historical roots,” he said.

“We are working on some exciting plans for Barnstaple Guildhall that I hope will be the jewel in the crown in that work.

“And I want to continue to develop our environmental work – we aim to lead in making Barnstaple a single-use plastic-free town in the coming months.”

Mr Roome has selected Over and Above’s Cancer and Wellbeing Centre Appeal and Families in Grief as his charities for the year ahead.