Mirfield Town Council has a new top team – including the youngest deputy mayor in its history.
Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton was last week re-elected as Mayor of Mirfield for a second successive year while her deputy will be Thomas Hirst, aged 23.
Previous deputy mayor Clr Andrew White, who runs a town centre grocer’s shop, stood down for business reasons.
Clr Lees-Hamilton, also re-elected as a Tory councillor in Mirfield in last week’s Kirklees Council elections, said she was honoured to continue in the dual roles.
It is unusual for a town mayor to continue for a second year in succession but Clr Lees-Hamilton said she felt her experience was needed in what could be a period of change.
Kirklees Council is looking at devolving more powers to local bodies and that could mean greater decision-making responsibilities for Mirfield Town Council, which is chaired and led by the mayor.
At present the town council has no decision-making powers but levies a precept on council taxpayers and has a budget of £44,000 which is uses to distribute grants to good causes.
Last year the town council took over the running of the town’s public toilets when Kirklees wanted to shut them down.
Mirfield-born Clr Lees-Hamilton, a driving instructor, said she was delighted to continue to serve the town and added: “I am honoured that Mirfield people, and colleagues on Mirfield Town Council, have again put their trust in me and I will work hard to justify that faith.
“We don’t know what is going to happen yet with devolution but there could be interesting times ahead,” she said.
“I would welcome devolution as long as it is fully financed and money comes with the powers. If we had some real powers we could genuinely make a difference.
“What I would really like is to see planning decisions devolved to town council. That wouldn’t mean we would block any further development, it would mean we could make decisions in the best interests of Mirfield.”
Mirfield is currently facing several planning applications for new housing developments including the controversial Bellway Homes proposals for 135 houses on Balderstone Hall fields off Hepworth Lane.
Clr Lees-Hamilton raised £765 for her chosen charity, Mirfield-based Safe Anchor Trust, last year. She has yet to decide which charity will benefit from this year’s fundraising drive.
Thomas, who was co-opted onto the town council two years ago, has just finished studies at university.
James Taylor was Mayor of Mirfield at the age of 24.