Looe welcomed a new mayor this week, with Cllr Tony Smith taking over the role from Cllr Edwina Hannaford. 

The new deputy mayor was also chosen, being Cllr Stephen Remington.

On Monday, May 15, the council paid tribute to Cllr Hannaford’s long and distinguished contribution to the town and people of Looe, as mayor, councillor and Cornwall Councillor. 

In her last act as mayor,  Cllr Hannaford presented awards and cheques to various local individuals and organisations. The mayor’s chosen charity for the year has been the Boundless Trust, who were presented with a well deserved cheque for £3,686 to support their work. 

Cllr Smith will now take on the role in a town which he described as having retained its ‘Cornishness’. 

Speaking to the Cornish Times about what Looe means to him, Cllr Smith said: “My wife and I moved to Looe some nine years ago now. It is a town which really appealed because it has retained its ‘Cornishness’ and is a very friendly place to live! The town has its challenges of course, but there are also opportunities which I wanted to help develop. So, I decided a couple of years ago to get more involved and put myself forward as a Town Councillor, a role which then developed into that of Deputy Mayor. Now I’m extremely honoured to have been made Mayor of Looe!” 

As mayor, Cllr Smith will help lead the council in providing positive change within the area.

When asked what he would like to achieve as mayor, he explained: “I think the first thing to say is that the mayor does not work alone! Looe has a great team of councillors who, between them, have many years’ experience and skills in different and complementary fields. Together we can and we will make a positive difference!   

“Several of the things I would like us to achieve during my term of office build on those that Edwina Hannaford, my predecessor, set for her term. As many readers will know, Edwina has been a stalwart for Looe. She was born here and has put her heart and soul into serving the community both as a Town and Cornwall Councillor. She will be a hard act to follow but I hope to do her proud!    

“Turning to some of the things I’d like to focus on. An important point to make is that the Town Council should not be seen and, indeed, does not wish to work in isolation. 

“Collaboration between all the important town bodies is essential and we can only be stronger as a town when we work in unity with each other. 

“To do this we have to understand each other’s motivations, needs, ways of doing things and particular visions for Looe’s future. I will be working, with my fellow Councillors, to continue to develop an open dialogue with the organisations and key groups in Looe to listen and explore their aspirations and together working out how we can best make things happen for the benefit of the town.   

“I will also be working closely with the Town Council officers. We could not do much without their expertise and support. As they are in many ways ‘at the coalface’ on a daily basis, their views on how we might do things better are critical. I will be exploring their ideas with them regularly.”

Regarding improvements to be made, Cllr Smith said: “Looking inwards a little, I feel that our communication as a council is something we need to do better than we do. It’s important that people know and understand what we do and, as well, what we don’t do! In turn, we need to be finding out what the people of the town and, in particular some of the younger people, would like to see us do or think we should be concentrating on. What are their ideas for improvements in the way we do things at the moment? It’s very much a two-way street. To achieve this, we aim to improve our communication channels and encourage people to use them. I also hope that I will be able to meet with more of the residents and get to know them better. 

“Looe has many volunteers who spend hours of their time helping others. As well as their sterling work I would like to encourage the development of small local groups who can take responsibility for sorting out very local issues such as littering or graffiti. We will aim to support such groups with advice and, if necessary, equipment to make a difference in their immediate environment.          

“Finally looking at the businesses in the town, I think it’s also important that we try hard to develop a business forum for Looe. We lose out because we don’t have a strong business voice shouting for the town! 

“Recently a discussion has been started with some interested parties and there are emerging ‘green shoots’ in that direction. I am determined to nurture these and hopefully get an active business forum up and running.”