OTLEY’S new Town Mayor has promised to work to create ‘new opportunities’ for residents.

Councillor Peter Jackson, whose deputy will be Councillor Sylvia Thomson, also vowed to be a ‘mayor for everyone’ when he accepted the chains of office from outgoing mayor Councillor Mary Vickers this week.

Cllr Vickers meanwhile, addressing the Town Council’s AGM, announced that her mayoral year had raised £4,080 for Behind Closed Doors and £1,000 for Otley Parish Scouts and Cubs’ roof repair fund.

Reflecting on a busy 12 months, she said: “It has been a privilege and an honour. I’d like to thank everyone I met and all the people here - it’s you who make Otley the fantastic place it is.”

Cllr Jackson has chosen three causes to support as mayor: Otley Leg Club, the Otley branch of the Royal British Legion, and - most ambitiously - a bid to buy a minibus for local primary schools.

He said: “Our schools have had to cut back on taking pupils on educational visits and they need our support and encouragement.

“My ambition is to raise enough funds to purchase a seventeen seater minibus to enable our primary schools to continue taking pupils on visits of interest.”

The meeting also heard a report on the council’s recent accomplishments from Councillor Ray Georgeson.

Summarising what he called ‘another year of sustained effort and progress’, Cllr Georgeson also gave some more details about the council’s StreetVision2030 project.

He said: “(This) will take its inspiration from places like the Netherlands and also, closer to home, Manchester who are rethinking the way that streets are used to make them safer and calmer for all users - pedestrians, those riding bicycles and those driving cars.

“The primary aim is to make walking and cycling a preferred choice for many more people for short local journeys: reducing car use, air pollution and carbon emissions and making streets calmer.

“This will involve some early feasibility study work using specialists, Leeds City Council Highways and representatives from our community.”

Referring to the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in March, he added: “By itself, the act of passing a resolution and making a statement on the Climate Emergency doesn’t change anything - but it is important as it sets the bar for future objectives.

“It should prove to be the most important statement we ever put our name to and it will certainly be uppermost in my mind as we start out on the next four years of managing the work of the town council.”

Cllr Georgeson also cited the completion of the Navvies Memorial restoration, a project that secured the required funding after the council agreed to take on responsibility for the monument, as one of the highlights of the past year.