No summer holiday for Mayor Peter

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PONTELAND’S mayor is looking forward to an exciting summer after enjoying his first year in the role.

But Peter Cowey is also prepared to put a lot of time and effort into some important projects that will help shape the area’s future development.

At the annual meeting of electors, he set out the many services undertaken by the town council before mentioning what the authority intends to achieve in the next 12 months.

A series of events, including a big lunch, family service and a fireworks display, and a major local exhibition will take place to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in early June.

Work is progressing on its ‘Loyal Address’ to the monarch – the aim is to have 10,000 signatures. Each page will have drawings in the margins from Ponteland schoolchildren.

This will add to the annual events such as Party in the Park in mid-June, which is organised by the area’s four churches, and the town council’s Jubilee-themed Music in the Park in July.

Plenty will be going on at the authority’s offices too, as work will continue on a Ponteland Local Plan to feed into the county council’s Local Development Framework (LDF).

This will cover affordable housing, transport, the type of businesses that need to be in the town, care homes and the potential future re-development of Merton Way and Broadway.

Other projects for 2012/13 include a full land survey, character appraisal, improvements to the War Memorial and a historic sign for Broadway. Preparation work will be carried out in advance of the town council taking on the running of Prestwick Cemetery at this time next year.

Coun Cowey said: “This year has been an incredible learning curve for me, but I have enjoyed the challenge.

“I would describe it as a three-year role. The first is learning about the job, the second is actually doing it and in the third you get the blame for everything.

“This is a big 12 months for Ponteland and we have a lot of hard work ahead. In terms of the LDF, we need to look closely at the county council’s issues and options document and see how much our thinking fits in with their plans.

“Ideally, we should be telling it in which direction it should be going in our area, who knows better about these issues than the people of Ponteland?

“We also need to find out exactly what land we own and what we don’t because I want us to be ahead of the game and not have to chase things up.

“We’re all looking forward to the events coming up in the next few months and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be a wonderful few days for Ponteland.”

Coun Cowey has introduced two new Rolls of Honour in the council offices during the last 12 months.

One shows a list of all (known) local residents who have received an honour from the Queen. The second displays those who have been presented with the authority’s Meritorious Service Award.