DORCHESTER’S next mayor is looking forward to a busy time in office.

Peter Mann has been announced as the successor to Stella Jones as the county town’s first citizen and will officially take up the post at a mayor making ceremony on May 19.

Having lived in Dorchester for over 30 years and serving on the town council since 2005, Cllr Mann said he was delighted to be chosen by his fellow members for the mayoral office in a year packed with events.

He will be in office in time for the Dorchester Festival at the end of May with other major events in the year to come including the celebrations of Thomas Hardy’s birthday and the Hardy Conference, Dorchester Carnival and the commemorations of 100 years since the start of the First World War.

Cllr Mann, who will be accompanied throughout the year by wife Sheila as mayoress, said: “We just love living in Dorchester.

“I count myself privileged to live in a town with all the historic and literary associations that is has.

“I also appreciate what a friendly town it is.”

He added: “Having enjoyed it for a long time I was persuaded to join Dorchester Town Council and I have enjoyed that work. We will do our best to serve the council and to serve the community.”

Cllr Mann said his mayoral year could coincide with a time of change for the town.

There is the potential for work to start on the second phase of the Charles Street town centre development, while growth continues at Brewery Square in Poundbury and there is the potential for a proposal to come forward at the former prison site.

Cllr Mann said it was important that, wherever possible, developments like Charles Street fitted in with the existing townscape.

He said: “I would like to see that it is in keeping with the character of the town, the history of the town and I am anxious to make sure that during the building process South Street is well looked after.”

Cllr Mann said the town council would also be very much focused on finding a workable solution for the Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP) that takes into account the whole town and will also be fine tuning its proposed Vision for Dorchester, setting out its aims for the future.

Cllr Mann said he was very keen to continue work started by his predecessor Cllr Jones, who set up the Dorchester Youth Council.

He said: “I think the youth council is really important and it’s made a good start.

“I hope to see a move towards direct elections and increasing involvement of the youth council.”

Other issues he is keen to see the town council promote in the longer term is more housing for younger people and more affordable housing and improved accessibility to shops and businesses.

Finally, Cllr Mann is keen to meet all the volunteers that do such a good job across a whole range of organisations in the town and thank them for their contributions.