Outgoing Lowestoft mayor reflects on his time in the role

Stephen Ardley and Nick Webb at the unveiling of Lowestoft's town sign.

Stephen Ardley and Nick Webb at the unveiling of Lowestoft's town sign. - Credit: Nick Butcher

As mayor of Lowestoft for the past 18 months, Stephen Ardley has seen his main role as unashamedly promoting the town he loves.

While some complain about problems with traffic or jobs, Mr Ardley's job has not only been to wear the mayoral robes but actively encourage businesses to invest, tourists to visit and people to live here.

And with the promise of hundreds of new jobs in offshore wind, new businesses moving to the town and the pledge of a third crossing during his time in office, his contribution seems to have made an impact.

But as he prepared to hand over the chains of office to Nick Webb, his deputy for the past year, Mr Ardley is clear that work to promote Lowestoft needs to continue if it is succeed.

Asked how he thought Lowestoft had changed since he took over the mayoralty after previous incumbent Roger Bellham died in November 2014, Mr Ardley said: 'It's getting better. People are beginning to invest in the area, and we've helped promote the area.'

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As well as his usual civic duties of attending events and opening new businesses, Mr Ardley has worked with organisations like Lowestoft Vision business improvement district (BID) to highlight the benefits of the town.

He also founded the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards, organised by The Journal and Eastern Daily Press to honour unsung heroes in the area.

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Asked what he thought the key priorities for his successor, Mr Ardley said: 'Promoting the town and the people of the town. You have to be an outgoing to person to be mayor and not afraid to come forward. Your role as mayor is to promote people. You have to be a people-person.'

Mr Ardley added that he believes Mr Webb will do a great job.

He would also like to thank the Lowestoft Lions and Rotary, as well as the people of Lowestoft for their support during the past 18 months.

What do you think should be Lowestoft's priorities? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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