Bungay’s new mayor elected

A BUNGAY woman who left the town as a teenager in the 1950s has returned to become this year’s mayor.

Angela Brook was installed in the office at the annual town council meeting on Monday by outgoing mayor Simon Woods, and set out her hopes for the year ahead, pledging to tackle two problem areas – St Mary’s Street and Nethergate Street.

“St Mary’s Street basically suffers from the fact that it could look a lot better,” she said. “It is one sided, with the shops down one side, most of them painted in dark colours. The whole street seems to be dark and down at heel.”

Problems such as the former Merchant’s House or Guildhall had been addressed and some excellent traders cared for their premises, but others did not.

“Beautiful and unique ornamental pillars are decaying, paint is flaking off and window-sills are actively rotting,” Mrs Brook said. “We need to persuade these landlords to look after their properties.”

In the meantime, she advocated siting tubs of flowers at points along the street, with the help of Bungay in Bloom and Waveney Norse.

There were “gaping holes” in Bungay’s infrastructure which were still a detriment to the community. In Nethergate Street there were dense housing, lots of cars and inadequate lighting.

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“We must address the lighting issues there before anything serious happens,” she said.

Forming a professional and highly active emergency committee, and making progress on traffic management were other priorities the new mayor highlighted – as well as completing the move to quality council status.

“Unless we want to be the only town in Suffolk not to have it, and to be seen as a failure, we must get this,” said Mrs Brook, who has been spearheading the work towards it over the past two years. “We are almost there. We are highly professional, and a model for other parish councils.”

She called on councillors to work together in a united way, “using all our diverse skills and experiences to the common good of Bungay.”

Bungay First Responders will be Mrs Brook’s main charity for her year of office.

“It concerns me enormously that Bungay is the only town of any size in Waveney that does not have a minor injuries unit. Travel time from Norwich or the James Paget Hospital (at Gorleston) eat up that golden hour, and First Responders are a Godsend, particularly in rural areas at a distance from ambulance stations and hospitals,” she said.

Born Angela Cobley at all Hallows Hospital at Ditchingham, Mrs Brook lived in Bungay till she was 16, being educated at St Mary’s School and later Bungay Primary School. She spent most of her working career as a teacher in London, before moving into educational television, working on documentaries and commercials, latterly as a producer and occasionally a director.

She served for four years on Islington Borough Council, a unitary authority, from 2002-06, before moving back to Bungay five years ago with her husband, David.

Terry Reeve was elected deputy mayor for 2010-11.