THE new mayor of St Ives knows he has a tough year ahead but insists party politics are not the way to go.

THE new mayor of St Ives knows he has a tough year ahead but insists party politics are not the way to go.

Martin Collier was one of a tide of independents elected to St Ives Town Council in the wake of the Corn Exchange controversy in 2008.

The 51-year-old barrister has enjoyed his stint on the authority so far but admits dealing with the limited powers of parish councils has been frustrating.

However, in his new role as mayor, Cllr Collier, who lives in West Street, is keen to make a difference.

"We have got to be alive to how we can respond to savings," he said. "We have taken over the public toilets at the bus station. We have got to anticipate how Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council will make savings, and see how we can help plug those gaps.

"Funding is always a problem, but we have to think how we can do it in a more imaginative and cost-effective way."

Answers to the town plan survey, which was distributed to residents earlier this year, are being collated and analysed, and Cllr Collier is keen to take that forward.

"The big thing for the council over the next year will be our town plan. It will show us how we can make the town a better place for people."

Born in East Anglia, Cllr Collier spent some time in London but then moved back to the area in 1983. He has lived in St Ives since 2004.

The former deputy mayor knows there will be even more ceremonial duties to perform in his new role, and he is looking forward to it.

"The good thing about it is you meet all kinds of interesting people, who you may not have otherwise heard about. People are always so nice and pleased to see you."