Bideford’s longest serving town councillor has taken his seat as mayor for the third time.

Bideford North Councillor Peter Christie was elected as mayor for 2019-20, taking over the role from Councillor Doug Bushby.

Councillor Ruth Cragie, who represents Bideford East, was voted in as deputy mayor.

Cllr Christie, 69, first took his seat on the town council in 1983 and has previously been mayor in 1985-86 and in 2004-05.

He is a semi-retired teacher and moved to the area in 1976 when he took a job teaching geography at the then North Devon College.

Cllr Christie is also well-known local historian and an author of 33 historical books - with two more due out during his time as mayor of the town.

The appointment came the week after Cllr Christie, who represents the Green Party, was also elected vice-chairman of Torridge District Council for the same time period. He has sat on the district council since 1991.

He told the Gazette: "The first thing I am looking forward to is getting the new councillors all settled in.

"More than half of the council, actually on both the town and district councils, are new which is very unusual, we've seen a massive change."

Cllr Christie said one of the key challenges in the year ahead will be seeing if the promised development of Brunswick Wharf will materialise.

"Personally I am not convinced that the plans are going to appear," said Cllr Christie.

"Given the history of the site, with so many failed attempts, I do wonder what might happen."

Cllr Christie said a looming Brexit was also a concern for Bideford and the whole of the South West.

He said he was concerned by the amount of projects in the area promised European funding.

He also added: "In Bideford all of our exports through the port go to Europe. I asked what our plans were and was met with a lot of blank faces.

"This does concern me if we go through without some sort of settlement."

In the town itself, Cllr Christie said he was pleased with the addition of hanging baskets in Mill Street and the Pannier Market. He also hopes to seek some land to plant some trees.

Cllr Christie will officially take up his post at the mayor's introduction ceremony in Bideford Town Hall on June 6.