Second time for new mayor as he looks to Kenilworth’s future

Kenilworth has welcomed its latest mayor back to take up the chains and represent the town for a second time after almost three decades.

Cllr John Cooke was sworn in as town mayor at an official council ceremony in May.

He said he is already looking to seeing what has changed since he last had the honour 28 years ago.

”I am honoured and privileged to once again have been chosen as town mayor,” he said. “I genuinely believe that Kenilworth is a very special place and I will do my best to try and keep it that way.”

The 57-year-old photographer got involved with local politics at the age of 21 and since that time has sat on Kenilworth Town Council and been elected to Warwick district and Warwickshire county councils where he served as chairman of the planning and social services committees.

He said he is now looking forward to returning to a more locally based role - and eager to see what changes have been made since he last wore the chains in 1986.

But as well as chairing meetings and getting to know local groups and organisations, the town councillor said there are some big issues to be tackled over the next 12 months.

“The town council will have to give a formal response on the district’s local plan shortly as well as keeping a close watching brief on the many developments it proposes,” he said.

“I hope to play a full part in both of these serious issues for Kenilworth and will support the continued fight against HS2.”

Cllr Cooke explained that after a break of more than 20 years, he feels ready to once again devote time to work for the community and use his knowledge to take an active interest in development.

He hopes that his political experience will be of use in the “challenging times ahead” and that he can put his planning background to good use in fighting HS2 and securing the best for Kenilworth under the Local Plan.

During his mayoral role, Cllr Cooke will meet with town organisations, charities and youth services - drawing on his experience as a former Kenilworth School governor.

He still serves on the district council standards committee and hopes to take an active interest in small businesses and trade starting at the town business and retail fair in June.

Outgoing mayor, Felicity Bunker thanked everyone for their support over the past 12 months and wished Cllr Cooke all the best in his new role.

Cllr Michael Coker was elected as deputy mayor for the coming year.