THE new Mayor of Newton Abbot, 22-year-old Cllr Alex Hall, had his first official outing on Saturday when he attended the Annual Town Meeting in Courtenay Street.

Hundreds of shoppers took the opportunity to quiz Cllr Hall and his fellow members on a wide range of matters including pot holes and town centre regeneration.

Also present at the event were maintenance staff showing off the new £160,000 street cleaning machine the town council has invested in following service cuts by the district and county councils.

Cllr Hall said: ’It was great to meet so many people and most had some very good things to say about Newton Abbot, including those folk who regularly travel into town from other communities to enjoy our shops and facilities.

‘Quite a few people don’t understand the different roles undertaken by town, district and county councils and I get that, all residents want is to have the services they need delivered at a fair price.

‘We were able to amplify our concerns about Teignbridge Council’s plans to reduce on-street parking and introduce traffic restrictions in Queen Street.

‘It also appears that many residents are yet to be convinced about Teignbridge’s plans for the regeneration of the Market Hall and Market Walk.

‘Those doubts aside, it was clear to me that Newton Abbot remains a much-loved town by its residents and a favoured destination for people in places like Torbay who told me there’s so much more life and vitality here.

‘I congratulate our Town Development Manager, Sally Henley, and the business community for their incredible efforts in the face of an economic storm.

‘I also applaud our Events Co-ordinators, Natalie Hicks and Kelly Burridge, for compiling a wonderful year-round events programme that we know is popular with residents and visitors alike.

‘Finally, hats off to museum staff, including Kate Green and Lucy Cokes, who entertained families during the annual town meeting with their free craft activities.

‘I cannot say how proud I am to be Mayor of Newton Abbot and am already thoroughly enjoying the job of championing our fantastic town.’