Hartlepool's mayor - and 2007 Skoda - to stay on after review called future of role into question

The role of Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor is to stay on – together with the 2007 Skoda used to drive him or her around.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 5:32 pm
The mayoral chains of Hartlepool

The post of the town’s first citizen had been called into question as part of a review by Hartlepool Borough Council.

The ceremonial mayor – currently Coun Brenda Loynes - represents the council at events such as royal visits, official openings, presentation of awards, school visits and other events.

But the role was put under review by the council’s constitution committee, as part of a requested look into civic expenditure, including the budget of £5,651 for the current financial year to support the mayor attending events.

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Councillors, however, backed the importance of the role to the borough – although they did raise the idea of looking at how the mayor is selected.

Council leader Coun Shane Moore said: “It was always my hope it might change so there is a more clearly defined system where it would alternate around the groups within the council, or go to the longest serving councillor, or something along those lines.

“We have a long and rich history in this town with our mayors.

“As one who likes tradition in this sense, I wouldn’t like to be the person that got rid of that.”

Coun Brenda Harrison had raised the idea of the ceremonial mayor being someone other than a sitting councillor.

However chief executive Gill Alexander ruled she did not believe it would be possible due to legislation around the role and the position they also carry out as chair of the council.

Meanwhile councillors also backed keeping the current council civic vehicle, a 2007 Skoda Octavia, which bosses state costs approximately £2,500 a year to run.

Current arrangements also include the employment of a civic driver who undertakes the role of mace bearer at council meetings and is responsible for the security of civic chains during official engagements.

Councillors pointed to how getting rid of the vehicle, and using taxis and public transport for the mayor and other dignitaries to travel, would incur higher costs.”