Otley’s new town mayor received his chains of office this week – from his mother.
Councillor Nigel Gill (Lab, Manor) succeeded his mum, Councillor Pam Gill (Lab, Manor) in the role.
The handover took place at the town council’s annual meeting on Monday, when Councillor Philip Bye (Lib Dem, Prince Henry) was appointed deputy town mayor.
Peter Heald was declared an honorary citizen in recognition of the work he has done with Otley Town Partnership to help the community prosper.
Young dancer Jan Filby, a student with The Northern Ballet, received the new Youth Achievement Award for his outstanding achievements in dance. Council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield), in his annual report, said: “It is now 40 years since the town council, in its current guise, was formed and I doubt if any of the previous years delivered quite so much.”
He named the council’s new town-centre base, the Otley Core Resource Centre – which also acts as a venue for Jobcentre Plus, police drop-in surgeries, Otley Museum exhibits and more – as one of the key achievements.
He said the revamped, staffed Orchard Gate toilets had also proved a hit. He said: “It is my belief this one project has done more to improve the lot of visitors, and therefore assist the tourist objectives of the town, than any other.”
Coun Eveleigh said the 17 per cent decrease in this year’s precept – which followed a 25 per cent hike the year before – showed the council was determined to provide value for money. Thanking staff and looking ahead, he added: “The Tour de France alone will be a brilliant opportunity for the town to put itself in the shop window.
“As chairman of the steering group I would like to thank another whole load of people who have voluntarily agreed to serve on the steering group – specifically the chairmen of the different working groups we’ve established – Councillor Jim Spencer, Lawrence Ross, Dave Robson, Paul Sykes and Councillor Austin Kelly.”
The AGM was followed by the annual parish meeting, when residents questioned councillors about the future of the Civic Centre and the need to control dogs in Wharfemeadows Park.