IT WAS the start of a new era for West Devon Borough Council when a new council leader and mayor were selected yesterday (Tuesday).

A new council leader and mayor of West Devon were chosen at a busy first meeting of the new full council at West Devon Borough Council.

This follows the borough council election on May 4.

Cllr Mandy Ewings, Independent ward member for Tavistock South West, has been named as leader, with Cllr Mark Renders, Independent ward member for Dartmoor, chosen as her deputy leader.

Cllr Ewings was voted into the post by her fellow members.

Cllr Ewings said: ‘It’s a great honour to be named leader of West Devon Borough Council. I look forward to working with my fellow members to get the best outcomes for our residents and communities.

‘I’d like to pay tribute to former leader Cllr Neil Jory, who led the council with dignity, humour and eloquence. He has done an exemplary job for the people of the borough.’

The mayor for the coming year will be Cllr Lynn Daniel, Green ward member for South Tawton.

Cllr Daniel accepted the chain of office from the outgoing mayor, Cllr Caroline Mott, after she was unanimously voted into the post by fellow councillors. Conservative Cllr Mott has held the post of mayor for the last two years.

Cllr Lynn Daniel, mayor of West Devon, said: ‘This is an exciting time for the council with many changes, challenges and decisions ahead of us in the next four years.

‘I’m honoured to have the role of representing West Devon Borough Council and look forward to attending events across the area and meeting residents. ‘I will listen and respond to what our residents have to tell me.

‘We have further mountains to climb, not least dealing with the housing crisis and the cost of living crisis, which are affecting so many local people.

‘I’m sure we will succeed if we continue to work together.’

Cllr Debo Sellis, Conservative ward member for Tavistock South East, was appointed deputy mayor.

The mayor’s chosen charity for the year ahead is the Devon Wildlife Trust.

At the meeting, Throwleigh resident Chris Chapman, a community-based photographer and filmmaker, received an award of special recognition for services to the borough for photography.

For the last 50 years, Chris has documented the lives of local people and championed the special character of West Devon and Dartmoor through film and photography.

The election on May 4 saw 13 new councillors and 16 returning councillors. The election saw the Tories relinquishing control of the borough council, with their seats down 17 to 11, with seats lost to the Lib Dems, Labour and the Green Party.

And in Bere Ferrers, the first Labour councillor for the ward was elected in the person of Isabel Saxby.

The Green party increased their share of the vote from two seats to five seats.

One of the Greens, Terry Wheeler, subsequently resigned his seat in Tavistock North Ward for personal reasonsand a by-election is being held there. A by-election is to be held also for two seats in Burrator ward after the sad death of one of the candidates, Neil Jameson, delayed the election.