Plenty to look forward to in South Molton this year.

SOUTH Molton’s new mayor says the future is looking bright for the town.

Councillor Stephen White, who was elected for his third term on Wednesday night, said many issues instigated by the council were beginning to come to fruition, including large-scale housing developments at Gullacombe and Gunswell Lane.

Cllr White, 63, said: “The future looks very bright for South Molton at present.

“We do not have any empty shops at the moment; a new medical centre is proposed as part of the Gunswell Lane development; and there are discussions ongoing on for a new, 420-place primary school and a sports hub, together with improvements to pedestrian and cycle links connecting to the existing network around the town.

“Pathfields Business Park will provide approximately 30 hectares of additional employment land and there will be additional car parking in the town centre.

“I believe the council can make progress in a variety of ways and during the coming mayoral year it is my intention to do all I can to promote South Molton, encourage employment, tourism and the heritage of the area.”

Cllr White, who is also chairman of the Olde English Fayre committee, says he will encourage a ‘team approach’ at the town council to help achieve things for the town.

He said the council’s finance committee had already met to place the necessary funding for a new heating system for the town hall and museum; a public address system for the assembly room; a loop system to help those with hearing aids; and a complete revamp of the town hall toilets.

Money will also be made available for other issues relating to the facade of the town hall; repairs to the market and assembly room roof; and improvements to woodland paths in the town.

Cllr White said other items already agreed or under discussion included better weed control and grass cutting.

“These are supposed to be covered by the district or county councils, but as we know, with the imposed governmental financial cutbacks they are not being adequately carried out.

“We as a town council want to ensure that the town and its approaches look their best and welcoming to all who visit.

“We are continuing to build upon the success of our Christmas lights displays, with further improvements to the displays this year and in future years.

“Of course, there are many other events that take place throughout the year which draw people into the town: the Business Association’s Seven Saturdays of Summer, the Town Band’s ‘Proms in the Pannier Market’, the Carnival and the Olde English Fayre.”

Cllr White, a retired full time trade union officer for Unite, takes over the mayoral chains from Cllr David Goodman who has served the last two years as mayor.

At the same meeting, fellow town councillors voted Cllr Christine Lock to be this year’s deputy mayor.