We need a poll, says new mayor

Coun Eddie Collett says he will take a more campaigning approach to his mayoral role.
Coun Eddie Collett says he will take a more campaigning approach to his mayoral role.
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Blackpool’s next first citizen believes it is time the resort had an elected mayor.

Labour’s Coun Eddie Collett will be formally installed as new mayor next month – but will reject the pomp that usually accompanies the position.

He will not wear the formal robes and plans to adopt a more campaigning role.

And he said it would be better to have an elected mayor instead of the current ceremonial position.

He said: “I have no great problem with people who want to wear the traditional robes, but it is not for me.

“I want to use my year to do more campaigning.

“I respect the duty of staying out of party politics but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the position to promote Blackpool. I don’t think you can do that dressed up in crystal slippers and a tricorn hat.

“Another thing I want to use my neutral role for is to look at some of the organisational matters, and I am going to dip my toe into the issue of elected mayors. It won’t be me, and I am not launching a campaign on my own behalf.

“But I think it is a better system and I think Blackpool needs it.

“The ethos behind it is only an elected mayor can answer the question of who is in charge? People clearly know who is in charge under this system.

“Whatever you think of their politics, no-one can accuse people like Boris Johnson of not caring.

“So let’s have a look at it and see if it would be of benefit to Blackpool, and see what is going on in other towns.”

Coun Collett, 55, was first elected to the council in 1991, and currently represents Tyldesley ward.

He has given up a place on the council’s cabinet to take up the mayoral role, and will combine the position with his full time job as a tutor at Blackpool and the Fylde College.

His wife Heather, with whom he has two children, will be Mayoress.

The mayoral charities Coun Collett has chosen are the Snows Heights Appeal and the Civil Liberties Trust.

The former is an outdoor centre at Bouth in Cumbria which was closed down a few years ago due to health and safety reasons, but which was originally bought by Blackpool schools in the 1960s.

There are plans in place to rebuild it but about £350,000 needs to be raised, of which around £95,000 is either in place or has been pledged.

Outside the council chamber, Coun Collett is a Blackpool FC season ticket holder.

He is also chairman of governors at Waterloo Primary Academy and chairman of Marketing Blackpool.

The mayor-making ceremony is on Monday May 13 at 11am at the town hall.

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